Attract Butterflies To Your Landscape
Butterfly gardens are created for the intention of attracting, well . . . butterflies! Butterflies help the environment by pollinating flowers and providing food for nestling songbirds as caterpillars. Butterflies (and bees) are critical for the environment as they pollinate the plants as they skip along, from flower to flower.
The glimpse of a butterfly in flight can be a fanciful treat to see. What amazes me is their ability to navigate in any breeze. It’s such a dance! It always amuses me how they manage, it looks like a lot of hard work on their part.
Hard Work Should Be Rewarded
To me, the best rewards come in the form of my favorite things. Put a piece of cheesecake in front of me and I’m first one in line to help you move next Saturday. Mmmm, cheesecake! Sorry, back to the butterflies’ favorite things.
Give your visiting guests what they need and they will want to stay ~ awhile ~ and maybe even a return visit! The bountiful accommodations will be a welcome retreat for the butterflies, and a feast for your eyes.
Gardening Tips at the Smithsonian Butterfly Habitat Garden
A Fiesta On The Flowers
The specific theme of your butterfly garden, combination garden container or hanging basket is to provide an inviting oasis for the winged beauties and provide what every weary traveler is searching for.
The simplest of amenities will satisfy these nectar seekers. The simplest of effort by you is all that’s needed to lure these colorful creatures to your landscape.
Add A Splash Of Color With Perennial Favorites
I recommend cultivating native plants for a flourishing butterfly garden. The native plant species that I am including in this article would benefit those folks residing in the Mid-Atlantic States.
The reason for planting native varieties is simply that these plants have already adapted to the environment naturally . They are acclimated to the local environment, and establish very quickly. Your new butterfly garden plants will be more comfortable and feel like being home. Hopefully, the butterflies will feel at home, too!
Put Out The Welcome Sign
Planting A Butterfly Garden Is Like Posting A ‘Welcome’ Sign
Like hungry and tired tourists searching the roadway ahead for a ‘Diner’ or hotel ‘Vacancy’ sign, your butterfly garden is a fragrant, colorful invitation to your garden destination.
Locate the garden or planter in a sunny area. Butterflies love the sun’s warmth, and most of the varieties of plants that are beneficial to butterflies require full sun in order to successfully grow.
Include a flat stone in your butterfly garden. Butterflies bask in sunlight as a way of raising their body temperature. This enables them to fly and remain active. Flat flower-types, flat stones and open flat areas are good places for landing and spreading their wings. They like to perch on stones, and appreciate a small patch of bare soil too.
Keep flower form a consideration when choosing the plants for your butterfly garden. Single flower forms are more desirable rather that double flowers. Who wants to land on a bumpy runway after an exhausting flight? The nectar from single flowers is so much more accessible. The butterflies are able to extract their meal effortlessly, and then on to the next flower they go.
Hurry Up Bee . . . Or There's More For Me
Large Splashes Of Color
Design your butterfly garden with groups of flowers as opposed to isolated plantings. Butterflies are first attracted to flowers by color. Big splashes of colorful will entice from a distance.
Select nectar producing flowers for your hungry visitors. Flowers that bloom with a tubular shape or have clusters or flat-toped forms are the favorites of butterflies.
Open For The Season
Ensure that air traffic at your busy butterfly garden remains open by planting varieties that will continuously bloom throughout the growing season. Early spring butterfly activity begins and continues until late fall. Include plants that will provide nectar throughout the entire growing season.
Guide To Attracting Butterflies To Your Garden
If You Plant It, They Will Come
Now that you have decided to host your garden party at the Butterfly Inn, become a butterfly watcher! Get to know the colorful butterflies that frequent your fine establishment. They are very distinctive, and easy to identify with a good field guide.
Partial Listing Of Native Plants For Your Butterfly Garden
Achillea (Yarrow) Nectar & Larval Host
Agastache (Hyssop) Nectar
Antirrhum (Snapdragon) Larval Host
Aquilegia (Columbine) Nectar
Asclepias (tuberosa Butterfly) Flower Nectar & Larval Host
Aster (Michaelmas Daisy) Nectar
Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) Nectar
Chrysanthemum Nectar & Larval Host
Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) Nectar
Cosmos (Yellow Cosmos) Nectar
Dianthus (Carnation) Nectar
Digitalis (Foxglove) Larval Host
Echinacea (Coneflower) Nectar
Eupatorium coelestinum (Hardy Ageratum) Nectar
Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) Nectar
Helianthus (Sunflower) Nectar & Larval Host
Lantana (Shrub Verbena) Nectar
Lavendula (Lavender) Nectar
Mentha (Mint) Nectar & Larval Host
Monarda (Bee Balm) Nectar
Petunia Nectar & Larval Host
Rudbeckia (MD State Flower ~ Black-eyed Susan) Nectar
Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower) Nectar
Verbena Larval Host