Upper Thames Branch Gardens

Gardens can act as important stepping stones between nature reserves and other natural habitat by offering abundant supplies of nectar from March until the butterfly season ends in October-November. Butterflies will visit any garden, however small, if they can feed from suitable nectar plants, and a well thought out garden can attract up to 18 species of butterfly. If you manage your patch to create breeding habitat you may see even more.

Top ten nectar plants to grow:

  • Buddleia : Red Admiral, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Large White, Small White, Brimstone
  • Verbena : Red Admiral, Large White, Comma
  • Knapweed (Centaurea) : Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Common Blue, Large White
  • Ivy : Red Admiral, Comma
  • Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium) : Red Admiral, Comma, Speckled Wood
  • Marjoram : Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Common Blue
  • Michaelmas Daisy : Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell
  • Lavender : Large White, Small White, Gatekeeper
  • Sedum : Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral
  • Perennial Wallflower : Large White, Small White

A more complete plant list can be found here.

Downloadable documents

How You Can Help

Arrange your garden for butterflies:

  1. Provide nectar sources. Many good nectar plants are hardy, perennial and easy to grow. They can be grown anywhere - from a container to a wildflower meadow.
  2. Provide caterpillar food plants. Nasturtiums and Nettles are easy to grow and will support several species.
  3. Eliminate the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides.
  4. Leave fallen fruit under fruit trees.

At the end of the season, don't forget to send your records to the Garden recording co-ordinator.