Build Your Own Butterfly Garden

“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince 

Do you love the sight of butterflies flitting and fluttering in your garden? 

Someone once described butterflies as self-propelled flowers, beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting!

If you would like to introduce butterfly plants to your collection, but also love plants and colours that match together beautifully, here are 5 aestheticallycomplementary shrubs that can be planted together!

5 Beautiful Plants that are also Butterfly Plants!

We have compiled this simple list for gardeners out there who would like to start a small butterfly garden, which will also jazz up any windowsill, balcony or corner of your patio!

1 Cuphea hyssopifolia (Mexican heather / False heather)

These are nectar plants for butterflies, such as the Ceylon grassy blue tiger butterfly on the right. They tend to stay short and compact; and can be used in front of the taller shrubs. Cupheas comes with purple or white flowers. 

2 Lantana camara (Big sage) 

The flowers of the lantana come in many different colours, including red, yellow, white, pink and orange. The flowers have a tutti frutti smell with a peppery undertone, and attract not only butterflies, but birds as well. The lantana can grow up to 2m without pruning, but with light pruning, can be kept to a controllable height of below 50cm. 

3 Mussaenda flava / Pseudomussaenda flava (Dwarf Mussaenda, White Wing) 

A compact shrub with flowers that look like butterflies themselves, the Pseudomussaenda flava is an easy-to-maintain plant that is free-flowering in the tropics. It is also a shrub that can be kept to below kneeheight with light frequent pruning. 

4 Ixoras (Jungle flame)

A familiar plant in Singapore, the Ixora belongs to a family of shrubs that have a wide variety of bright red, pink, orange, yellow and white flowers. When we were kids, we used to pull the stamens from each flower and savoured the little drop of sweet nectar at the ends, and this is probably what draws the butterflies to it as well! With enough sunlight, the Ixora is a very free-flowering shrub. 

5 Asclepias curassavica (Scarlet milkweed) 

Whenever this shrub has been planted in the Gardens, there is always an instantly noticeable increase in the number of butterflies that are spotted nearby! The Asclepias has beautiful red-orange flowers with a yellow crown, that is held high above the leaves, making it a beautiful plant to have in the gardens. It does tend to grow really tall though, so plant it towards the back of your butterfly garden and give it hard prune once in a while to keep it bushy and controlled. 

This article is contributed by Gardens by the Bay's Design and Development Team