Painted lady butterfly

A painted lady on New England aster.

Gardening with native plants that are appropriate for your site is a great way to support butterflies, bees and birds. Include a diversity of wildflowers, grasses, trees and shrubs to ensure a buffet of pollen, nectar, seed and fruit.

Not sure where to start? Check-out this selection of native plants for Toronto and area gardens!

Here’s a list of some of the best native plants for gardens within the Greater Toronto Area and throughout Eastern Canada.

In addition, these common herbs attract and support butterflies and bees:

  • Borage
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Lemon Balm

Here is a short list of butterfly species found in the Toronto area:

  • Mourning cloak
  • Red admiral
  • Painted lady
  • Monarch
  • Milbert’s tortoiseshell
  • Silver-spotted skipper
  • Black swallowtail
  • American copper
  • Clouded sulphur
  • Cabbage white (non-native)
  • Question mark
  • Viceroy

Refer to Southern Ontario Butterflies and their Natural History by Jay Cossey for a longer list, detailed photos and lifecycle details. Visit for a more complete picture of butterfly (and other wild) species found in the Toronto area and beyond!