Bring in the
Add a new dimension to your garden displays by not only
planting colourful flowers you can enjoy throughout the
year, but ones that will bring in the butterflies too. A
wide range of bedding plants, perennials, flowering shrubs
and bulbs produce the simple, open blooms that butterflies
These act like fuelling stations around our gardens for
butterflies, moths, bees and other beneficial insects,
providing them with the valuable nectar they need to feed on
for energy. That's why the best flowers are often described
as nectar plants, and there are hundreds of wonderful plants
to choose from to suit virtually any site or soil you have
in your garden.
One of the most popular is the Butterfly Bush, or Buddleja,
a hardy and reliable shrub whose flowers act like magnets
for butterflies, hence their common name. Many
strong-growing varieties are available, including one with
variegated foliage called ‘Harlequin', but all can be kept
within bounds by annually pruning in early spring.
Several dwarf and compact varieties of Butterfly Bush are
now available that are perfect for pots or tiny spaces, with
flowers in colours from pink and white to blue, lavender,
magenta and deep purple.
Plan your planting carefully to choose a range of plants
that flower right through the year, as these will both
attract and support the widest range of butterflies in your
garden. Some of the best flowering perennials provide
long-lasting displays, with a succession of flowers opening
over several months. These include varieties of Rudbeckia
and Cone Flower (Echinacea), both valued for their
outstanding garden performance.
Lavenders provide welcome nectar for butterflies through the
summer months, while planting a range of Ice Plants (Sedum)
ensures more flowers develop into autumn to feed Small
Tortoiseshell and other late-flying butterflies as they
prepare for hibernation.
With over 50 species of butterfly resident in the UK, and
dozens more flying across from Europe, our gardens can play
a vital role in ensuring their survival, and we can enjoy
their antics too.
Top four plants to bring in the butterflies
1. Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii varieties and others)
Including AGM varieties like ‘Nanho Blue', ‘Royal Red',
‘White Profusion' and ‘Harlequin'.
2. Ice Plant and Sedum (Including Sedum spectabile and Sedum
telephinium). AGM varieties to consider: ‘Brilliant',
Atropurpureum Group, ‘Purple Emperor', ‘Thundercloud'
3. Cone Flower (Echinacea) - lots of varieties to choose
4. Rudbeckia varieties, including ‘Goldsturm' and ‘Pot of
Top tips for planning and planting
1. Choose a range of suitable plants with different
flowering periods to ensure there's something in bloom
throughout spring, summer and autumn for butterflies to feed
2. Several butterflies hibernate through winter. Adults
emerging from hibernation need flowers to feed on in spring.
Others require autumn blooms to stock-up on nectar to help
them survive during hibernation.
3. While flowers are important to feed adult butterflies do
remember that different plants are needed for butterflies to
lay their eggs on and to feed their caterpillars.
4. Letting patches of nettles established in a wild or
natural areas provide valuable breeding and feeding sites
for four of our native butterflies. The caterpillars of
Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Comma and Peacock all feed
on nettle leaves.
5. Avoid using pesticides around your garden that could harm
butterflies, bees, ladybirds and other beneficial creatures.
6. For more information check out the website of Butterfly
Conservation at www.butterfly-conservation.org
Other favourite plants of the moment
There are dozens of suitable flowering plants to choose from
that can provide nectar in different seasons for butterflies
to enjoy. Lists of the best can be found online, such as on
the RHS website (www.rhs.org.uk), and here are just a few to
Cranesbill (Hardy Geraniums)
Globe Thistle (Echinops)
Michaelmas Daisy (Aster varieties)
All of these plants are looking at their very best at the
moment, so if you you're wanting to add some instant
interest and colour to your garden, visit and select from
our seasonal displays.
Perfect for pollinators
our wild bees and other important pollinators considered to
be in decline, the Royal Horticultural Society has launched
the "Perfect for Pollinators" campaign to help promote that
by planting nectar and pollen rich flowers over a long
season, gardeners can help to reduce this trend. The list
is comprehensive and we are extending use of the distinctive
logo from our herbaceous perennials through to our range of
shrubs and trees throughout the Nursery, to make it easier
to identify those varieties that offer the most benefit to
bees and other insects when selecting new plants.
The Nurseries’ staff can offer further advice and copies of
the perfect for pollinators plant list can be downloaded
list - garden plants
list - wildflowers
Fruit and ornamental trees
We have over 80 varieties of
ornamental trees available in the Nursery. There's a great
choice of Acer, Betula, Cotoneaster, Malus, Prunus, Sorbus
and Salix available in our display stands. As well as
flowering ornamental trees, we also have an extensive
selection of edible fruits including: Apple, Cherry, Gage,
Pear, Plum and Walnut trees with dwarf, bush and standard
forms available, together with espalier apple
trees, ensuring plenty of choice to meet all requirements.
our list of fruit trees >>