In the garden the Butterfly is a fascinating visitor, children love them, they are signs of a healthy environment and they are just very pretty. We present some ideas on how to attract butterflies and to the home garden.
Nectar giving plants and plants that provide breeding grounds and protection are the main requirements for attracting butterflies to your garden.
The Butterfly friendly garden
Attracting Butterflies to the garden you need to consider a few things, eliminating problems is the first.
Eliminate the use of chemicals, sprays or pesticides that kill the butterfly itself or the butterfly lava.
Next you need to have plants that butterflies find attractive.
Plant shrubs bushes, perennials and annuals that will attract butterflies (nectar giving plants) and act as breeding grounds for butterflies (host plants)
Butterfly Friendly Plants.
If you could only grow one plant the you might choose the aptly named ‘Butterfly Bush’, these are Buddleia, they are great for attracting butterflies as well as nectar eating birds. Buddleia are hardy and fairly drought tolerant, so start with something like one of the Buddleia davidii species.
It needs to be understood that Butterflies are attracted by both plants that provide Nectar and plants that act as Breeding Grounds.
Different plants attract different butterflies.
Plants that are Butterfly Friendly and attractive to different species of Butterfly.
- The Zebra Swallowtail prefers Paw Paw, Buddleia, Blueberry and even Privit
- The American Painted Lady prefers Everlasting Daisies, Aster, Privit, and Mallow.
So you will need to do a little research into what type of butterfly does best in your local climate.
Listed below are some general ideas on suitable nectar plants and breeding grounds.
Butterfly Nectar Giving Plants
Verbena, Aster, Lavender, Eupatorium,Echinacae, Lychnis, Heliopsis, Stokesia, Phlox, Scabiosa, Coreopsis, Silidago, Mondara, Lobelia, Ageratum, Brachyscome.
Butterfly Breeding Ground Plants
Cabbages (brassica), Capers, Clover, Lemon Trees, Foxglove, Hollyhock, Parsley, Dill, Sunflower, Dogwood, Viburnum, Paw Paw.
Different Plants for Different States
Different plants are best in different states, so in Texas we try Salvia farinacea, or mealy blue sage. Dill, Fennel, Ruellia and Conoclinium greggii (Gregg’s mistflower)is particularly good for attracting Monarch butterflies.
If we move further north, to Massachusetts, then we could be using Vaccinium corymbosum the Blueberry, Aster novae-angliae or New England Aster, Buddleia or Butterfly Bush and Milkweed, which works well in many areas.
Milkweed also works well in part shade as do Lobelia, Marigolds and some Salvias.