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In The Garden

Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden

A yellow butterfly resting on a purple garden phlox flower Play Video

Butterflies add a magical element to the garden, and we spoke with Dr. Chris Moorman, a wildlife biologist with NC State University, to talk about how to attract butterflies to your landscapes.

Beauty in Flight

While it hasn’t quite reached the widespread popularity of bird watching, butterfly watching has gained significant favor in recent years. Butterflies are colorful, diverse, abundant and active during the day in warm months, making them an ideal pursuit for wildlife enthusiasts.

In fact, wildlife watching as a whole, given impetus by the increased awareness of regional and ecological diversity, has become one of the country’s fastest-growing outdoor recreational activities.

Cover of the "Butterflies in your backyard" publication from NC State Extension, which features a black butterfly on a purple-and-red flower
Butterflies in Your Backyard is a quick guide from NC State Extension that explores common butterflies in North Carolina and how to attract them to your garden. (Read Now)

How Do I Start a Butterfly Garden?

We’re glad you asked!

North Carolina’s diverse natural landscape includes coastal dunes, pocosins, Sandhill savannahs, Piedmont forests, wetlands and mountain ranges. These different vegetation communities provide a home for more than 175 butterfly species.

Butterflies and caterpillars (the larval stage in the butterfly life cycle) provide food for birds and other organisms, pollinate flowers and are easy to attract to a garden or backyard landscape. Butterflies are found throughout North Carolina and will flourish within a well-designed landscape of native plants in both rural and urban areas.

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