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Do Butterflies Like Hibiscus? (Yes. They Do)

Do Butterflies Like Hibiscus? (Yes. They Do)

Hibiscuses are tropical flowering plants producing colorful petals that have a sweet smell. Most of them come in pink, red, and yellow. At home, you might have noticed several insects and bird species hovering around hibiscuses. They are probably looking for nectar.

Apart from noticing bees, hummingbirds, and a few other pollinators in your hibiscus garden, it would be a good idea to find out if these flowers usually attract butterflies. Typically, butterflies are attracted to flowers with bright petals & wide openings. Also, butterflies are beneficial to plant growth because they help in pollination.

This article looks at how a hibiscus attracts different pollinators, why they prefer it, and if butterflies prefer it to other plant species. Keep reading to know more.

Are Butterflies Attracted to Hibiscus?

Yes. Hibiscuses attract butterflies. These flowers are available in diverse colors. Also, the wide opening makes it easy for a butterfly to perch and suck nectar. The other factor is the sweet nectar that hibiscuses produce. Butterflies find the nectar nutritious.

The other good thing about hibiscus is that they can grow almost anywhere. In short, they are drought and pest-resistant. So, planting hibiscuses in your garden has a lot of advantages.

You should also remember that apart from hibiscus, butterflies are mostly attracted to flowers with bold colors. Most gardeners plant different species of hibiscuses to attract bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and other nectar-sucking pollinators to their gardens.

Hibiscus flowers produce abundant pollen. When pollinators land on the petals, the pollen sticks onto their bodies and wings and is transferred to other flowers, hence fertilization.

Lastly, hibiscus flowers grow up to a reasonable height. So, butterflies do not have to fly too low or too high to access the petals and suck nectar.

Why do Butterflies Like Hibiscus?

Butterflies like hibiscuses because of how convenient they can land on the petals. Also, hibiscuses produce sweet nectar which contains sugar and glucose. Note that butterflies and other pollinators need this natural sugar from plants to give them energy

First, the hibiscus’ attractive color attracts butterflies from afar. Secondly, the open bloom allows the butterfly to land easily on the petals, including larger butterfly species with wider wingspans. Some hibiscuses form lengthy petals measuring up to 6 inches wide.

Others produce smaller blooms, ideal for small-size butterflies. You should note that hibiscus flowers are available in most parts, so butterflies do not have to travel far or wide searching for them.

Interestingly, you might notice that hibiscus flowers produce a sticky substance at the back of the petals. This sticky substance is a defense mechanism to keep tiny sap-sucking pests and leaf-chewing insects away. If a plant is not attacked by pests, it flourishes better and pollinators can easily notice its bright petals.

The highly potent scent produced by hibiscus flowers is also enough to attract butterflies. Not only do they rely on scent and sight to locate flowers, but butterflies also find the strong smell produced by hibiscus flowers appealing.

Lastly, some hibiscus flowers are host plants to adult butterflies, particularly the Grey hairstreak and painted lady butterflies. These butterfly species will lay eggs on the foliage and when the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the hibiscus leaves until their next metamorphosis stage.

Here is a video showing how a caterpillar is feeding on hibiscus leaves.

What Else Does Hibiscus Attract?

Apart from butterflies, hibiscuses attract major pollinators like bees and hummingbirds. Hummingbirds, for instance, prefer hardy and tropical plants and flowers. So, they find the natural trumpet shape of hibiscus convenient for accessing the nectar. The flamboyant colors of the petals, conversely, attract honey and bumble bees.

Because hibiscus flowers blossom the whole year, you will notice several pollinators attracted to them. The special characteristic of hibiscus is that they are quickly recognizable, even from a distance. From the color, size, and overall beauty, most pollinators spot it whenever they are searching for nectar.

It is always a good idea to plant different species of hibiscus if you want to attract pollinators in your garden. This is because they are easy to grow & maintain and they are also drought resistant.

Check out this video showing how a hummingbird is feeding on nectar from a hibiscus flower.

What Other Plants Do Butterflies Like?

Apart from different species of hibiscus, butterflies are normally attracted to flowers with bright blooms and appealing smells. The most common include Pot marigolds, coneflower, Bluestar, Blazing Star, Lavenders, Butterfly bush, and bright-hued asters. These flowers bloom in pink, yellow, red, and white.

Butterflies are amazing to watch in the garden. They also prefer flowers that have the most nectar and have a wider opening. The wider opening allows larger butterflies to land on the flower easily and suck nectar.

You might think that a rose is a good choice for the garden. But surprisingly, butterflies will not prefer rose flowers if there are other better options in the garden.

As a general rule, you should plant these flowers mentioned above if you want to attract more butterflies to your garden. Most of them are pest & drought resistant and easy to manage. Also, you must remember that with more butterfly favorite flowers in the garden, other plants will be pollinated.

Most gardeners and homeowners plant abundant tropical plants in the garden because butterflies will be attracted to closely packed flowers. Milkweed, for example, is a good choice to attract monarch caterpillars which grow into beautiful orange butterflies.

If you cannot find any flowers mentioned above, check out this list of 6 common garden flowers that will attract more butterflies to your garden.

Does Hibiscus Attract Bees?

Yes, hibiscus is in one flower that produces nectar and comes in bold colors; no wonder bees can easily spot them to suck nectar. Also, they also grow widely. So, bees do not have to fly wide to look for hibiscus flowers. When hibiscuses bloom, they open up wide and bees can easily access the stalks.

Note that there are different species of hibiscuses with varied colors. So, understanding which colors attract bees is a good idea. Typically, bees are attracted to pink, yellow, orange, white, and other bold colors. But they do not see the red color. So, red hibiscus flowers are not a top choice for honey or bumble bees.

Apart from letting the flowers in your garden attract a handful of bees naturally, you can try to increase the number of hibiscuses in your garden to attract more bees. With more bees, your garden will thrive better.

Is Hibiscus Good For Pollinators?

Yes, hibiscus is good for pollinators. Apart from their attractive form, hibiscuses produce sweet nectar which gives pollinators the nutrition they need. Moreover, insects like bees use nectar to produce honey which is beneficial to humans and animals.

Hummingbirds suck the sweet nectar full of sugar and glucose to give them energy. Remember that hummingbirds burn plenty of calories, thanks to their 53 beats per second. Luckily, the nectar provides enough fuel for them to survive the day.

Bees of different species suck enough nectar from hibiscus flowers or other favorite flowers. They then return to their hive to deposit nectar residues in the hexagon-shaped beeswax honey cells. The deposited residues slowly mix with natural bee wax and transform into honey, when it solidifies.

Is Hibiscus the Best Plant for Attracting Butterflies?

Surprisingly, hibiscus is not a top flower choice that attracts butterflies. Apart from its drought-resistant and easy-to-maintain properties, butterflies will favor several other flowers in the garden. This, however, doesn’t mean that you will not find butterflies sucking hibiscus nectar.

What most gardeners do is plant different varieties to attract more butterflies to the garden. Note that some flower varieties will attract specific butterflies. Also, when hibiscuses mature, they form a trumpet shape with flamboyant colors that allow larger butterflies to land and suck nectar.

If you are keen, you might have already noticed that there are other favorite plants that attract butterflies. The butterfly bush is one good example and the best flower that attracts different butterfly species. Ideally, a butterfly bush produces enough nectar to feed multiple butterflies at a time. Also, it comes in several colors that butterflies find attractive.

What Flower Most Attracts Butterflies?

Aster, Buddleia, Asclepias (Butterfly Flower, Butterfly Weed), and Bee Balm are a few ultimate flowers that attract butterflies. Furthermore, these flowers come in a wide array of colors and also produce enough nectar to feed butterflies. Note that the best flowers attracting the most butterflies have distinct constructions.

In most cases, the petals are brightly colored and easily spotted. The stalks are also long enough to allow butterflies to suck nectar easily. If you have tropical flowers that bloom wide, you should also be able to notice several butterflies hovering around them.

You can check out this list to find out other flowers attracting butterflies the most. Pick the ones that are available in your location because some flower varieties are adapted to particular regions.


Hibiscuses are impressive additions to the garden. They attract a parade of several pollinators, including butterflies. With plenty of butterflies in the garden, plant growth is usually boosted.

This guide has looked at hibiscuses and other tropical flowers that attract butterflies and several other pollinators. Also, you will identify a few top-choice flowers to plant in your garden if you want to attract pollinators.