Plants for a Butterfly Garden
I think there is two things that all gardeners have in common, the love for plants and the love of the butterfly. There is nothing more beautiful than the graceful flutter of butterflies frolicking from one flower to another. Add more color to your garden with the beauty of the butterfly.
Are you saying “I have this beautiful garden full of colorful blooms but have not seen that many butterflies all season!” The problem might be that you do not have the right plants for a butterfly garden. Although it is not difficult to attract butterflies with plants, there are a few elements that you need. You will want flowers that will attract the butterfly through all stages in its life. You will need a place for it to lay its eggs, plants that the large can eat off, places for the caterpillars to spin their chrysalides and once the chrysalides hatch, flower sources for the butterflies to get nectar.
Along with many butterfly attracting plants, it is also a good idea to try and find plants that are native to your area. The butterfly and native plants have co existed for many years together creating a life cycle that evolves year after year. Some of the native plants that attract butterflies are Armeria, Aster, Ceanothus, Penstemon, and Salvia. Also Butterfly Bush Buddleia in all its shapes sizes, and colors is an excellent plant for a butterfly garden.
All colors of flowers will attract the butterfly, but you may find that they prefer red, yellow, orange, pink and purple blooms. You will often find butterflies attract to flowers that have a flat top such as echinacea, leucanthemums, coreopsis and rudebeckia. Butterflies also attract to clusters of flowers where the pollen is easily assessable such as phlox, ascelapias/milkweed, achillea, and monarda. Having a garden that is in full sun is a must for the best butterfly attracting setting. Nectar is a necessity for butterflies, make sure that you have a good assortment of flowers that bloom from early season until late in the season to provide butterflies with all the nourishment that they need to survive.
Did you know that butterflies need to warm up their wings for flight? Make sure that you leave a few resting spots such as stepping stones etc. for your fluttering friends. Butterflies also need a source for drinking , also known as ‘puddling’. They extract water from course dirt or sandy spots that have moisture in them.
It does not take a ‘flower’ garden to attract the butterfly. If ‘edible’ gardening is more your style we recommend planting parsley, dill, fennel, gooseberry or blueberry just to name a few. My hopes are that if you are lacking butterflies in your garden that you will take a few of these helpful tips and try them, but beware… you may spend your free time watching the butterflies on your flowers!