Butterfly Circle Project

Coming to a park or schoolyard near you.

What is a Butterfly Circle?

A Butterfly Circle is an innovative concept in sustainable butterfly gardening for South Florida that creates biodiverse sanctuaries for native flora and fauna wherever herbicides are not used. Butterfly Circles:

  • Contain native wild plants that host butterfly caterpillars and provide nectar for numerous pollinators.
  • Connect kids with nature both at school and at home, where they will recognize many of these same plants growing in parking lots, median strips, vacant lots, cracks in sidewalks and virtually anywhere there is a bit of dirt.
  • Require watering only during extreme drought and very little maintenance: once the circle is formed around the wild plants to keep the mowers at bay, occasionally cut some of the wild plants back a few inches to stimulate new growth and remove any invasive species that appear.
  • Provide scope for education along with awe and wonder for all ages.

Native Wild Plants That Host Butterflies and Make a Great Addition to a Butterfly Circle:

Why a circle?

Circles are universal symbols with extensive meaning. Last but not least they are very easy to mow around!

How to create your own manicured butterfly circle

Butterfly Circles can be more manicured, which takes more time and effort and a bit more money, but appeal more to those with a "manicured mindset", or who live in a community with a more rigid landscape code. You can watch the video below and read our step-by-step guide to help you create your own.

Scroll past video to learn how to make a more "natural" Butterfly Circle.

How to Create a Natural Butterfly Circle

Butterfly Circles can be more natural and informal, are not as limited by size, cost very little, and the end result is more biodiverse. The trick is to have a lot of these host plants already growing in the grass.

To create a more informal Butterfly Circle, start by downloading our Field Guide to Wild Plants that Host Butterflies to identify the wild native host plants that are already present and marking them with lawn flags or other means. Wherever you see the most flags, that is the center of your circle. Plant a stake there and, using a string cut to the radius you want, mark the circumference with powdered chalk or the lawn flags.

Over time, the drought-tolerant native plants will take over. You can increase their numbers by harvesting seeds and sprinkling them in the Circle, or even planting a few new wild host plants, although you'd have to water them daily for a couple of weeks.


We dedicated our first Butterfly Circle on Earth Day, and to celebrate the 90th anniversary of our village's founding. Our mayor, village manager, and one of the council members showed up and happily showed off their butterfly wings. Ella jumped at the chance to soar!
Speaking of kids, our Butterfly Circle had help in surviving South Florida’s long, hot, dry season from the children attending the after school program in the nearby Recreation Center. They loved learning about the native flora and fauna in the Circle, and watching it grow and change. They watered it every day with their little dinosaur-shaped watering cans, and gave it extra water on Fridays as they wouldn't be there to nurture it over the weekend.
Earth Week Celebration
To celebrate Earth Week, 79 children walked over from a local school in three groups to learn about the plants in the Butterfly Circle and to see the insects that were attracted to them. Afterwards, we took them on a scavenger hunt in Constitution Park to seek out more wild native host plants, and then we all drank some lemonade with an ice cube made from Butterfly Pea tea. It was so cool to watch the blue ice cube turn the yellow lemonade pink as it melted.

Some Butterfly Circles in Private Gardens

Getting Started
Just Planted
Filled in with Fogfruit; Cheesytoes; Wireweed; and Purple thistle

Some of the Marvels of Nature Found in Butterfly Circles:

Photos by Alex ‘Salcy’ Salcedo. Clockwise from top left: Fiery skipper butterfly; Coffee-loving pyrausta moth; Baracoa skipper butterfly; Banded garden spider; Ceraunus blue butterfly; Red-waited florella moth.
Wild Plant Scavenger Hunts in the Park surrounding the Butterfly Circle and Cool Bug Safaris inside the Circle are fun for kids of all ages!


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Bring butterflies to your garden with these 17 Florida Native host plants.

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