• Earth Tower


Updated: May 13

If you haven't quite yet, you'll soon be enjoying the frequent flutterings of butterflies. Would you like to support these winged beauties in their flight of life?

People living in suburban and urban areas can attract and support more butterflies by planting vertical gardens that butterflies get all “flutter-patered” about. Since butterflies belong to an order of insects called Lepidoptera, we’ll call our vertical garden The Lepidopteran Tower (for alliteration’s sake)


Plant you vertical garden where it will receive plenty of sun while being protected from the wind. Butterflies like their surroundings warm and calm. They also appreciate water with their meals so consider also adding a little “butterfly bath” where they can perch and slurp.

WHICH BUTTERFLIES WILL VISIT? is an excellent butterfly-lover resource! When figuring out what to plant in your vertical garden, first find out which butterflies appear where you live:

Click HERE to find out!


Butterflies benefit from two types of plants:

1) HOST PLANTS: where butterflies like to lay their eggs and from which the larvae and caterpillars feed; and

2) FLOWERS: provide nectar (a bit of “butterfly gatorade” if you will)

Here is a chart of some of the more common butterflies and their favorite Host and Flower plants:

One of the most well-known HOST PLANTS is Milkweed for the Monarch.

Other good hosts include Dill/Fennel, Parsley, Queen Anne’s Lace, Sunflowers and select trees, vines and bushes.

While most of these host plants may be considered too tall for most vertical gardens, the Earth Tower Vertical garden has four, 4-ft tall side posts. Just plant near the bottom of the Earth Tower and close to a side post to easily secure and support tall growing stems.

Fill in the rest of the garden sides with butterflies’ favorite flowers. Below are some of the most popular lower-growing and dwarf varieties of butterfly-lovin' plants, perfect for vertical gardens. Also. provided are links for more planting information and online shopping.

ASTER (Dwarf)





Butterfly Weed

Heliotrope Marine

Ice Plant

special shoutout to Fawad Hashmi for this stunning photo!

Joe Pye Weed

NOTE: Can grow 3-to-7 feet tall but here is a link to a shorter-growing variety

Baby Joe Joe-Pye Weed


NOTE: “Bandito” is fuller, more mounded Lantana that resists becoming leggy!

Pentas 'Butterfly Red'

Salvia guarantica 'Black and Blue'

Sedum (low growing varieties)

Sedum: Dazzleberry

Sedum: Red Cauli

Sedum: Harvest Moon

Sedum: Fulda Glow

Sedum: Sieboldi

Sedum: Glanduliferum

Teddy Bear Sunflower

Zinnia (Dwarf)


One of the many benefits of Earth Towers and other vertical gardens is that pests can’t get to them very well. You’ll find no need for pesticides or insecticides. Good to know your invited butterflies will fly healthy and happy!

Grow your Lepidopteran Tower and let the show begin! Enjoy!

Special thanks to Shawna Coronado (gardening aficionado) for this short, beautiful video of a Swallowtail on Zinnias

For more information about the Earth Tower and more vertical gardening blogs, please visit at


© 2014 by Earth Tower Garden - Asheville NC USA

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