CLOSED 16th+17th Sept

Butterfly Friendly Gardening



General Principles

Insects are solar powered! The more sunlight they get the better they function and the faster they grow. Site plants in sunny positions as butterflies don’t generally explore shady places.

You will need to accept that to get butterflies to breed in your garden you will sometimes have to allow certain plants to get a bit more untidy than you would if you were gardening purely for aesthetic appeal.

Nectar Plants

For Butterflies

Buddlia: The “Butterfly Bush”.

Prune heavily in early spring. If you prune back part of the plant after a few months growth then you will extend the flowering period of the plant.

Marjoram: Cut back dead growth in spring. New growth will come up from the base. Divide the plant when it spreads too far.

Sedum: Treat like Marjoram.

Valerian: Remove dead stems in spring.

Lavender: Cut flower shoots off once all petals have dropped (do so on a dry day). Trim the foliage into a tight ball, ensuring that you do not cut back beyond the existing leaves.

For Moths

Buddlia, Marjoram, Valerian, Lavender


  • Different species flower at different times.
  • Early Dutch Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum ‘Belgica’ (May-June) (pink/yellow flowers )
  • Late Dutch Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum ‘Serotina’ (July-October) (pink/yellow flowers)
  • Japanese Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica (April-August) (yellow/white flowers)


Allow the bush to flower to attract moths.

Tobacco Plant


Caterpillar Food Plants

For Butterflies

  • Nettles
  • Long Grass
  • Holly & Ivy
  • Buckthorn
  • Garlic Mustard (Jack by the Hedge) / Lady’s Smock
  • Nasturtiums
  • Trefoils (Birdsfoot Trefoil & lesser Trefoil)

For Moths

  • Hawthorn
  • Willow
  • Apple
  • Privet
  • Willowherbs / Fuchia
  • Mullein