Butterfly Border

Butterflies are under threat. This border shows you some of the best plants that we can grow to provide food and shelter for them and their caterpillars. Butterflies and moths are not only beautiful; they pollinate plants and provide food for birds and bats. They are also a great part of nature for all families and it can be interesting to learn how to spot butterflies in Birmingham.

Butterflies and moths also act as an environmental health indicator: they are fragile insects and only do well where there is little interference from man’s chemicals and pollutants and where there are ample plants to feed on. Currently in the West Midlands, at least 9 species out of around 60 British butterflies are fighting for survival.

How you can help

  • Use less pesticides to avoid poisoning
  • Plant butterfly friendly plants for them to feed and shelter
  • Buy peat-free composts to conserve habitats bog habitats
  • Provide artificial nectar feeders with sugared water
  • Join Butterfly Conservation


Plants provide nectar for adult butterflies and moths and leaves to lay eggs on for their young caterpillars to eat. Shrubs provide a dry, cool place for species such as peacock, brimstone and small tortoiseshell butterflies to hibernate during the winter.

Plants to provide nectar for adults

Alyssum, arabis, asters, buddlejas, bugle, candytuft, grape hyacinths, hemp agrimony, honesty, honeysuckle, ice plant, ivy, lavenders, mahonias, purple loosestrife, ragged robin, red valerian, scabious, sweet rocket, thistles, verbenas, wallflowers.

Plants to provide for their caterpillars

Alder buckthorn, holly, hops, nettles and thistles.


Information iconYou can see which butterflies find their way to the Gardens by looking at our Animal Sightings page.