Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Do You Have A Butterfly Garden?

Many of us have butterfly gardens without realizing it!  How can this be, I didn't work on planting a butterfly garden. 

There are even season categories for the plantings used for attracting butterflies. 

                              Allium Purple Sensation                       

These are just two of the early season butterfly magnets!
Some other early perennials are Arabis, Dame's Rocket and Forget-me-nots.
Salvia May Night

Walker's Low Nepeta

The majority of butterfly perennials we have in our gardens are classified as mid-season.

My Garden Study Group had a presentation this week on creating butterfly gardens and many of the plants recommended are those that we already grow in our annual and perennial garden beds.

Shasta Daisy Becky
Phlox Bubblegum
Echinacea Kim's Knee High
Daylily Chicago Rosy

Many butterflies have specific plants that they lay their eggs on such as the Monarch who prefers Milkweed, however, some will lay their eggs on a variety of plants.  Some will even prefer your veggie garden laying their eggs on the tops of carrots. 

This years Nantes Carrots were planted under the daylilies in the veggie garden.

In all of the years I taught we raised butterflies in the classroom for the children to see the metamorphosis contained in the life cycle of the butterfly.  They were always the Painted Lady Butterfly which is also known as the school butterfly.  They adapt easily to a prepared food more so than other species, not really showing the children how they feed in nature, but better than not experiencing this life cycle.

Butterflies need sun to warm their bodies so that they can fly, cannot tolerate wind or pesticides.

Agastache Blue Fortune with Allium Summer Beauty
Lurie Garden, Chicago

Recent research is showing that the color of the plants does not really matter, but landing pads do help such as on the Coneflowers, Rudebeckias, etc.

Provide flowers of different sizes, color, fragrance and shapes.  Strong scented flowers such as lilac and lavender draw many butterflies.

Butterflies suck, do not chew, also do not drink from birdbaths because they need a landing pad out of water.  Some rocks or stones built up at a water source works well.

These are only some of the butterfly attracting plants in my garden, there are many more.  Trees, shrubs and many wildflowers also create butterfly havens.  Many annuals are also in this category such as Marigolds, Zinnias and Petunias keep the butterflies coming all summer.