Attracting butterflies in general to your garden isn’t difficult however, if you want to attract specific butterflies so you can observe the caterpillars and possibly a new butterfly emerging from the Chrysalis, you’ll need to do some research.
There are many different flowers, trees and shrubs that attract adult butterflies for nectar, however many butterflies require a specific plant for the “Host” plant. This is the only plant the the butterfly will lay eggs on and will supply the food for the caterpillar. A Monarch Butterfly, for example, uses the milkweed for it’s host plant. You may not want milkweed in your garden but why not? A few plants in the back of your garden work great. If you’ve never seen the beautiful Monarch caterpillar, your in for a treat. Here’s a bit of information about the Monarch that you may not know. The milky substance in the milkweed is toxic to animals. It can make a cow sick and that’s why farmers don’t like it in their fields. But for the Monarch, it serves as a defense against birds.
There should be three parts to a butterfly garden – nectar source, host plants and shelter. For a nectar source, it’s best to choose flowers that bloom at different times during the season. It’s especially important to have late summer blooming nectar flowers so the butterflies can load up on energy for their migration trip. The old true heirloom varieties are good choices because some of the modern hybrids are bred for bigger, showier flowers and not necessarily for nectar. Host plants are ones that certain butterflies use to lay their eggs. Some provide nectar for the adults and also food for the caterpillar. Tall trees or shrubs will provide a sheltered place where butterflies can roost at night or escape from bad weather.
Plant your butterfly garden in a sunny spot and provide rocks for a place that butterflies can bask in the sun. Butterflies bask to heat up their wing muscles for flight. You should also provide a water source such as a small fountain or water dish.
NEVER USE PESTICIDES ON FLOWERS!
Here’s some butterfly garden plants you can try if you’re just starting a butterfly garden. If you already have a flower garden that includes some of these, you may want to consider adding some of the host plants or additional nectar plants to increase your butterfly population. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for caterpillars and some Chrysalis!
Annuals PerennialsSweet Alyssum – both host & nectar Yarrow – nectar Cosmos – nectar Hollyhock – both host & nectar Dianthus – nectar Chives – nectar Globe Amaranth – nectar Columbine – nectar Sunflower – nectar Milkweed – both host & nectar Heliotrope – nectar Asters – nectar Lantana – nectar Tickseed (coreopsis) – nectar Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco) – nectar Ice Plant – nectar Starflower – nectar Hardy Dianthus – nectar Annual Phlox – nectar Coneflower – nectar Salvia – nectar Fleabane – nectar Mexican Sunflower – nectar Joe Pye Weed – nectar Nasturium – both host & nectar Blanket flower – nectar Verbena – nectar Daylily – nectar Zinnia – nectar Bush clover – both host & nectar Blazing Star – nectar
Herbs Flax – HostChives – nectar Lupine – Host Dill – host Bluebells – nectar Fennel – host Beardtongue – nectar Lavender – nectar Russian Sage – nectar Mint – nectar Perennial Phlox – nectar Catmint – nectar Black-eyed Susan – nectar Parsley – host Pincushion Flower – nectar Sage – nectar Stonecrop – nectar Thyme – nectar Speedwell – nectar Trees & Shrubs Butterfly bush – nectar Blue Mist Spirea – nectar Dogwood – host Hawthorne – host Ash – host Chockberry – host Willow – host Lilac – nectar Vibernum – both host & nectar Home Previous Page Next Page