A wise gardener once said that a person can easily identify a particular butterfly if they know what kind of plant that butterfly frequents. Creating a butterfly garden that attracts a variety of butterflies is all about planting the caterpillar host plants as well as a mix of nectar plants for the adult butterflies. Butterflies can’t exist without their caterpillar host plants. In order to encourage adult butterflies to linger in their yards, gardeners should plant a variety of flowers as well as provide water and sand for puddles. One fun way to start a butterfly garden is for gardeners to choose which butterflies they hope to attract. Before selecting the butterflies, research the particular species to make sure they are native to a particular state or region in the world.
One of most interesting butterflies is the Spicebush Swallowtail with a wingspan of 3.5 to 5 inches. The butterflies live in the Midwest as well as the eastern part of the U. S. Some of the best trees to plant to draw the Spicebush include the Red Bay and Sassafras. Other caterpillar host plants include the Spicebush plan, a shrub with glossy leaves. Spicebush Swallowtails like puddles. Other members of the Swallowtail family include the Black, Giant, Tiger and Zebra Swallowtails. Consider planting dill, fennel, parsnip, rue, carrot and parsley to draw the Black Swallowtail.
Drawing Brush Footed butterflies
One of the most popular members of the Brush Footed Butterflies family is the Monarch Butterfly. Butterfly gardeners typically plant milkweed, which is a host plant for the Monarch caterpillar. Within a few years, the seeds from the milkweeds will have dispersed to different parts of the garden and beyond. To draw the Red Admiral butterfly, plant nettles and false nettle. The Painted Lady butterfly, also in the Brush Footed family, depends on thistles, while the Buckeye gravitates to snapdragons and plantains.
Planting good nectar sources
Butterflies can often be found sipping nectar from flowering shrubs as well as annuals. A gardener will want to plant different flowers so there is always something in bloom every part of the year including spring, early to late summer, fall and winter. In the spring, the best plant for butterflies is the azalea or lilac bushes. In the summer, plant Buddleia. Some of the best annuals for butterflies include marigold, verbena, zinnias, alyssum, candytuft, cosmos and impatiens.
Mixing cultivated and wild plants
Many gardeners are used to purchasing their flowers from a plant nursery that offers the most popular cultivated plants. However, it is important to visit a native plant nursery that also carries a wide selection of wild perennials. Many butterflies prefer living in the wild because the plants that grow in the wild often contain more nectar. Look for wild perennials including the Black-Eyed Susan, Blazing Star, Goldenrod, Yarrow and Dogbane. Many of the wildflowers are often seen growing by the side of the road, but should not be disturbed.
Ultimately, creating a butterfly garden is about creating a natural habitat for butterflies. Butterflies need shelter, which can come in the form of trees or shrubs. A butterfly gardener needs to be attentive enough to provide mud puddles on a daily basis for butterflies as well as rocks or stones. Do not use pesticides anywhere near a butterfly garden as pesticides are toxic to butterflies.