One of my favorite things to do as a gardener is to simply sit and watch the wildlife visit the gardens I’ve created. We see all sorts of wildlife, some I make an effort to attract, and some…well not so much! The “not-so-muches” would be the deer & rabbits, although very pretty my hostas weren’t meant to be a salad. Now the ones I make an effort to attract would be the beneficials, which to me include all sorts of birds & Insects, including one of my favorites, butterflies.
Over the years I’ve become fairly successful in attracting these beautiful and beneficial creatures. So that said, I thought I’d put together a quick post with some butterfly info that might help you bring a little “dance” to your gardens. Remember, not only are butterflies fun to watch, but they are also pollinators, and it’s this process of pollination that brings these beneficial creatures in. Blooms that produce, bright colors, strong fragrances, and good amounts of nectar will attract both butterflies.
The first thing to remember about attracting butterflies is that you need to make it attractive for larva & caterpillars. There are many different “food plants” for butterfly larva/caterpillars, but I’ve listed a few common ones below:
Now that you’ve attracted butterfly larva and caterpillars it’s time to make sure you can keep the butterflies in the garden when they come, and bring more in as well. Color and fragrance are what lure Butterflies to the garden. Butterflies are attracted to the color purple, so keep this in mind when designing or adding to your gardens. Also, these flowers must be full of nectar and easy to perch on as well. Nectar is the primary lure to your garden, so I’ve put together a nice list of plants they love below:
- Bee Balm
- Bee Bush
- Butterfly Bush
- Cardinal Vine
- Fern Acacia
- Lantana/Trailing Lantana
- Rose of Sharon
- Trumpet Vine
Butterflies are also attracted to rotting fruit, sap, and animal waste. I actually save out fruit waste and set a bit (not too much) in the gardens, it does lure in the butterflies, and then simply breaks down into the soil. Also, there is a difference between animal waste and “pet” waste it’s not the same, never put pet waste out into your gardens!
So when you’re adding plants to your gardens or building up a new garden keep some of the plants and basic butterfly info in this post in mind, and watch your gardens start to dance!
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