Purple Butterfly Flower Power- 6 Purpular Butterfly Plants

A Passion for Purple In The Butterfly Garden

Are you looking for purple butterfly flower ideas to make your garden pop? These are some purp-ular options that'll attract more butterflies to your garden.

Purple is the color of juicy plums, stunning sunsets, or a sparkling glass of wine…Steven Spielberg even made a classic movie about it!

Are you looking to add patches of purple brilliance to your butterfly garden? If so, there are some excellent options to choose from that include both host plant and nectar flowers for monarchs and other pollinators.

Lets start your purple quest with a rarer milkweed species that’s similar to common milkweed, but behaves much better in a garden setting:

1. Asclepias purpurascens (purple milkweed)

This milkweed can be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 5a-9b. Other milkweed species that have purple flowers or accents are antelope horns milkweed (Asclepias asperula), hearteaf milkweed (Asclepias cordifolia), tall green milkweed (Asclepias hirtella), sandhill milkweed (Asclepias humistrata), spider milkweed (Asclepias viridis), giant milkweed (Calotropis gigantea), and the milkweed tree (Calotropis procera).

More info on the other purple milkweeds here

5 Purple Flowers with Butterfly Powers- Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) is a favorite purple flower for monarchs and other nectar-seeking butterflies, like these great spangled fritillaries.
Grape Goodness

2. Buddleia buzz (dwarf butterfly bush)

These compact butterfly bushes come in pleasing purple shades like magenta, deep purple, and velvet. They’re hardy to zone 5 and can be grown in pots…or not!

Magenta Buddleia Buzz Butterfly Bush- 5 PURPular Butterfly Flower Ideas
Purple Dwarf

3. Duranta erecta (sapphire showers)

There are other Duranta erecta cultivars that are just as spectacular as ‘sapphire showers’ but it’s one I’ve heard lots of good things about from both a beauty and butterfly-attracting viewpoint. It’s a tender perennial in USDA garden zones 9b-11, but can be grown as an annual in colder zones. I’m actually overwintering one in Minnesota and it looks great.

Duranta erecta Sapphire showers flowers
Sapphire Showers

4. Liatris ligulistylis (meadow blazingstar)

This species of liatris is not what you commonly find in nurseries, but accept no substitute if you want to attract migration monarchs! Grow in zones 4a-9b.

Add the earlier blooming Liatris aspera if you want to attract monarchs in July. As the aspera starts to fade, ligulistylis will host the ultimate butterfly garden party to end the season.

This late blooming butterfly plant might be the best 'purple' monarch magnet of them all.
Can You Find The Fifth Monarch?

…but wait! we recently discovered an eastern native liatris that blooms even later! Introducing…


4b. Liatris scariosa (northern blazing star)

The showiest of these three liatris with vibrant blooms through the end of September in our Minnesota garden and attracts lots of monarchs, and the (painted) ladies love it too:

Liatris scariosa has proven to be one of the best purple butterfly flowers in our garden. See if it's a good choice to support butterfly life in yours...
Ladies & The Monarch

Liatris scariosa is native to the northeastern half of the US and is suggested for USDA hardiness zones 3-8.


5. Stachytarpheta frantzii (purple porterweed)

Stachytarpheta frantzii is a purple porterweed species that is reported to have superior powers of attraction for both butterflies and hummingbirds. It also comes in deep blue.

Stachytarpheta frantzii is a purple porterweed species that is reported to have superior powers of attraction for both butterflies and hummingbirds. Discover more purple butterfly flower favorites...
Purple Porterweed Persuasion | Photo by Joan Sorg

6. Verbena bonariensis (Brazilian verbena)

The final flower that should have lots of purple persuasion in your butterfly garden is verbena bonariensis. I like to plant this throughout the garden because the majority of our visiting pollinators seem drawn to it…from skippers, to majestic monarch butterflies.

Purple Flower Ideas for a Busy Butterfly Garden- A Skipper Butterfly Sips Sweet Nectar from Verbena Flowers
The Power of Purple
Please see comments below for other purple butterfly flower ideas I forgot to include. Happy Gardening!

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4 Comments

  1. My church has a prairie garden with liatris and I counted monarchs at one time in a 10 square foot area. Going to then nursery today to get me some of that. Where do you get the purple milkweed seeds?

  2. Tony,
    I just started seeds of the Purple Milkweed. I have 5 other varietes in my yard and wanted to try it. Does it spread as much as the Common milkweed????

    1. Hi Carol, one of the benefits of purple milkweed (compared to common) is that it doesn’t spread aggressively. This is my first year growing it too so I’ll be posting more photos and info.

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