The Daisy-Like Flower You'll Want In Your Garden To Attract Butterflies

If you're looking for a true butterfly magnet to attract as many colorful visitors to your garden as possible, gazanias are a must. Native to South Africa, gazanias (Gazania rigens) are drought-tolerant flowers with eye-catching blooms that can last from early spring well into fall in warm climates. The hardy flower features daisy-like blooms, complete with a ring of vibrant petals surrounding a cheerful yellow center. It's prized for the enduring pop of color it adds to your landscape and its ability to attract butterflies to your garden.

Available in a variety of colors, gazanias are easy to incorporate into just about any color palette and even easier to care for since they thrive in poor soil and require little water once established. That means you'll have plenty of time to just sit back and watch your butterfly visitors browse your garden all through spring and summer. Just be sure to plant them in well-drained or even dry soil that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight throughout the day.

Why you should plant gazanias to attract butterflies

Butterflies are attracted to brightly-colored flowers with wide, flat petals that are easy to land on. That's why many gardeners plant daisies to fill their yard with pollinators. But gazanias check both of those boxes as well with their large, daisy-like blooms. Many butterflies prefer pink, purple, orange, yellow, or red flowers — and there is a gazania variety with flowers in just about every one of those colors. With some varieties blooming as early as February, gazanias are also an ideal choice for feeding your local pollinators early in the season when other flowering plants are still dormant and a reliable nectar source for butterflies and other pollinators throughout the growing season.

As attractive as gazanias are to butterflies, they're even more appealing to gardeners. Those same large, brightly-colored flowers that make them irresistible to butterflies also make them a showy display to add to your garden. With both clumping and trailing varieties available, you can use them to edge walkways and garden beds or create a dramatic waterfall of color draping over a retaining wall or slope. The drought-tolerant flowers are especially great for adding vibrant color to the toughest spots in your yard. Those sunbaked, dry patches where everything else seems to shrivel by midsummer are precisely where gazanias would thrive.

How to plant and care for gazanias

In warmer climates, gazanias' foliage is evergreen, so you can plant it as a year-round groundcover that will burst with vibrant color come spring. In cooler climates, it's usually grown as an annual or kept in containers that can be brought indoors over the winter.

However you plan to use them, gazanias are unfussy flowers that won't require a ton of maintenance. With that said, they don't like shade so be sure to plant them somewhere that gets both morning and afternoon sun. In partly shaded areas, they might be able to survive but can get leggy and won't produce as many blooms.

Beyond giving them as much light as possible, gazanias aren't too picky about soil. Skip the fertilizer and compost, and just plop these cheerful flowers in the driest soil in your garden. The sandier or rockier it is, the better. The drought-tolerant flowers won't need much water once established, so be sure to let the soil dry out completely in between watering.