Butterfly Garden Plants
Add beauty to your garden
Getting butterflies to frequent your garden is a wonderful way to raise its natural beauty to amazing heights. While you may occasionally see a butterfly flit through your garden on its own, if you plan your garden effectively, you can attract these amazing insects much more often. And who wouldn't want to see the blazing splendor of their wings accentuating their landscape?
Butterfly Gardening Tips
The first thing you need to understand about attracting butterflies is what sort of butterfly garden plants they like. Basically, butterflies are attracted to two types of plant. The first of these is a nectar plant, which is any number of flowering plants that produce a sweet fluid that butterflies can eat. The second type is the host plant; a plant with a structure that is well suited to make it food for a larval caterpillar, which makes it attractive for female butterflies to lay eggs in. You need to cultivate both these types of butterfly garden plants if you are going to be successful in attracting butterflies.
Butterfly Nectar Plants
These flowering plants provide the butterfly with its food. Their flowers range in color from red to yellow, but it's best to create a large concentration of one color to attract butterflies. In addition, nectar plants should have large petals and/or tube shaped flowers to facilitate the butterfly's ability to land and stand on the flower while getting nectar. Daisies, asters and hollyhocks are all good choices.
Butterfly Host Plants
The main purpose of the host plant is to give butterflies a place to lay their eggs. Females know what plants will provide food for the caterpillar, and they will only lay eggs in those specific types. Usually these are trees, but there are many plants and shrubs that can be cultivated to attract the egg-laying butterfly. Dogwoods and spice bushes work very well for this.
Because of the chewed-up appearance that a host plant will develop (it is a food source after all) you may want to position it in an area of your garden that is more secluded so that the pastoral perfection of your flowers and shrubs is not altered.
Another factor to consider in attracting butterflies is that they seek out bright and sunny areas with light winds. A good butterfly garden should get at least five hours of sun a day and could ideally get seven. Also consider placing a few broad flat objects, like stones or a bench in your garden. These allow the butterflies a place to sun themselves in the morning, which is a vital part in removing the night chill from their bodies and allowing them to become active.
One other major factor to remember is that using insecticides in your garden will kill or drive off your butterflies. If you are attempting to prevent predation by garden pests, consider importing ladybugs or praying mantises to naturally control the problem.