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Butterfly Habitat Garden

The Smithsonian Butterfly Habitat Garden is 11,000 square foot area that supports plant species having specific relationships to life cycles of eastern United States butterflies. It is located on the East side of the National Museum of Natural History at 9th Street between Constitution Avenue and the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Snowberry Clearwing moth (Hemaris diffinis) in the Smithsonian Butterfly Habitat Garden | by Flickr member AsiVivo

Tagging Monarch butterflie in the Butterfly Habitat Garden | by Flickr member AsiVivo Learn more about Monarch tagging here:

Monarch caterpillar in the Butterfly Habitat Garden | by Flickr member AsiVivo

The caterpillar in this video will become a Black Swallowtail Butterfly. The projections from the caterpillar's head are forked glands called osmeterium. When the caterpillar believes it is in danger it will release these glands and emit a foul odor to repel predators. (Don't worry! No caterpillars were harmed in the making of this video.)

Green Darner dragonfly (Anax Junius) at the Smithsonian butterfly garden | by Flickr user AsiVivo

Cabbage White in the Butterfly Garden | by Flickr user AsiVivo

Candy Lily (Pardancanda norrisii) in the Butterfly Garden | by Flickr user AsiVivo

Black swallowtail caterpillar in the Butterfly Habitat Garden | by Flickr user AsiVivo

We found this little fellow hanging out in the Butterfly Habitat Garden looking well fed - stay tuned - he'll be a Monarch Butterfly soon!

'Paprika' Yarrow in the SI Butterfly Habitat Garden

Monarch Butterfly on a path of Lantanas | by Flickr user AsiVivo

Smithsonian Butterfly Garden | by Flickr user clio1789

Beautiful shot of the Smithsonian Butterfly Garden! by Flickr user Eguren

Planting a spice bush is an easy way to attract spice bush swallowtails. The spice bush is a deciduous shrub which can grow as high as 6-10 feet!

Butterfly Milkweed in the Smithsonian Butterfly Garden

Tomatoes attract several species of moths; two of them are infamous to experienced back-yard tomato gardeners. Tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata) and tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) are identified by the “horn” protruding from the rear of the caterpillar. Both are voracious eaters and will munch on tomato foliage and fruit. They are not welcome visitors in most vegetable gardens, but they are invited to dine in the Butterfly Habitat Garden.

Curly parsley is a popular herb that attracts Anise Swallowtails (Papilio zelicaon) and Eastern Black Swallowtails (Papilio polyxenes) in their larval stage.

The beautiful, bright leaves of 'Song Bird Red' Flowering Kale, paired with pansies and violets, provide a much-needed pop of winter color in the Butterfly Habitat Garden.

The Smithsonian Butterfly Habitat Garden supports natural plant and butterfly partnerships. #seriouslyamazing

Captured on film by one of our visitors! Photo from Working Title Blog

Great picture from one of our visitors of a passion flower (Passiflora foetida) in our Butterfly Habitat Garden!

The Butterfly Garden at the Smithsonian

Newsroom of the Smithsonian Institution

A wishing well will take your garden from the everyday to new realms of wistful possibilities. Not only does it excite the imagination, it will break up your space, adding a whole new level of variety. Whatever your garden setting, this addition is sure to inspire.

The Butterfly Habitat Garden is designed to support the lifecycles of the butterfly. Four natural habitats surround the garden’s pathways: the Wetland, the Meadow, the Wood’s Edge, and the Urban Garden. Each of these spaces is planted with alluring flowers, foliage, and water features that provide nutrients and shade to the butterfly. Here you will find butterflies resting on flowers and flittering through the air.