Butterfly Garden Tips for Your Landscaping

butterfly garden tipsWhen my children were young I was so excited to plant a butterfly garden. The enthusiasm to see a butterfly has no age limit. The process is easy and doesn’t take a lot of space.

Due to loss of habitat, butterfly populations have been declining. Monarch butterflies, in particular are struggling right now because milkweed —the one plant they need for survival—is in short supply. The destruction of their natural habitat, climate changes, and the use of pesticides have all contributed to the problem.

Thanksgiving 2003 073Because of that decline I focused our garden on the Monarch. Different species of butterflies like to eat different things, so find out which native plants are favored by the butterflies in your geographic area.

There are 5 basic garden elements you need to add to your landscaping to make it a popular butterfly hangout.

1. Location

“Small space can bring great things.” You don’t need a huge space to create this garden. Butterfly gardens can be a series of containers in a cluster on a patio or woven into your existing landscape.  The key is that the location must be SUNNY!

2. Native Plants

First you will need a  “host” plants. These serve not only as sites for the butterflies to lay eggs, but also as food for the caterpillars, which often eat different plants than their adult counterparts.

tropical-milkweed For the Monarchs, Milkweed is the host plant choice.

capapiler eatingFrom experience, I suggest getting a couple. This is the “food source” for your Monarch caterpillars, which means they are going to devour the plant down to the stem.  When they run out of food they leave. You want to keep this house guest happy and stay.

Note: Ask the nursery if they use pesticides. If the plants have been sprayed, you will not get butterflies.


butterfly flowersTime for the color.  Butterflies are attracted to bright colors such as red, orange, and purple.  These native flowers are a food provider as well as attracts pollinators.

Here are my favorites that have never let me down.
Verbena is a gorgeous plant that grows super fast, spreads and loves being neglected! The blooms stay vibrant purple all summer long and into fall.

Day Lillies are a fabulous choice in the garden because of the many varieties and it will bloom all summer long and they double in size every year.

Lavender  which smelled amazing and has other uses. It will bloom during the spring and summer months.

Zinnias always make me smile. These flowers is carefree summer-long bloomer with high impact colors. It does well in hot, sunny and dry conditions.

Lantanna is adored by butterflies and hummingbirds. I love the array of color choices. This sun-loving plant has a  continuous summer bloom, even in heat and humidity.

Merigolds does double duty. It is a natural insect de-turent and a food source. The bright compact flowers are loved by the butterflies.

There are over 20+ butterfly attracting plants species: Alyssum, Aster, Bee Balm, Butterfly Bush, Chasteberry, Cosmos, Delphinium,Dianthus,Globe Thistle, Hollyhock, Nasturtium, Oregano,Phlox,Purple Coneflower, Queen Anne’s Lace, Sage, Shasta Daisy, Stonecrop,Yarrow,

3. Sunny Resting Spot

Butterflies are cold-blooded.  They enjoy resting and sunning themselves. Add in the area a large flat stone or group of stones, makes that perfect relaxation spot.

4. Puddling Area

Puddling-SpotButterflies need a small water source or “puddling area” that is near the nectar plants.  This can be as simple as a dish of clean water. Or you can create a puddler with a shallow pan filled with sand, a few rocks and twigs to sit & sip from (also an ideal sunning place), and add water to keep it moist.

5. No Insecticides

Remember that insecticides are killing these necessary creatures.  If you do encounter unwanted critters, look for natural ways to rid them.

butterfly timeContact a your local nursery for to discover what grows in your area.  By supporting privately owned small businesses in your area, your making your community stronger.

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