Attracting Butterflies : A Handbook For Butterfly Gardening

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Life Cycle: Perennial, usually grown as an Annual or Biennial.

20 PROVEN Plants That Attract Butterflies [12222 Guide]

Light Requirements : Partial shade, will tolerate sun if given enough water. Genus : Violaceae.


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Phlox features bright, disc-like flowers that are available in colors from white to purple, hitting many shades of the rainbow in between. This fun flower comes in both upright and creeping forms and is commonly used as a border plant or accent flower. Phlox is known for their dependable nature, abundant blooms, and most importantly, their ability to attract butterflies and other native pollinators.

Phlox has been a perennial favorite in heirloom gardens for decades, yet looks entirely at home in modern-day garden designs.

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Light Requirements : Sun to part shade. Genus: Phlox. Most of us know salvia by its more common name, sage. Ornamental salvias are a cousin to the common sage we grow to use in the kitchen. Plants are adorned with small clusters of bright flowers that bloom in the summer and fall and draw in both butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.

Salvia plants can be divided into three groups:. Sage is fairly drought resistant and low-maintenance, which makes them an excellent choice for dry, sunny spots in your butterfly garden. Light Requirements: Full Sun. Genus : Salvia. Also known as stonecrop , the fleshy sedum plants provide a long season of flowers that often change color as the season progresses.

This long-blooming period makes them a great plant to use to attract butterflies and bees. Richer, heavy soil causes plants to grow tall, toppling, or snapping under the weight of the flower clusters. Genus: Sedum. Similar in looks to the wild daisy found along roadsides, the Shasta daisy is a classic perennial. Shasta daisies are easy to care for, requiring deadheading to promote more flowers and dividing every years to stimulate plant vigor.

Butterfly Plant List

Scientific Name : Leucanthemum superbum. A cool-season flower, snapdragons add beautiful color to gardens early in the spring and then again in fall. Snapdragons are available in most colors, to coordinate or contrast with other garden plants. Their tall spikes make for a longer blooming period than many other plants. Tubular flowers make them popular with butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.

Plant in rich, well-drained soil and deadhead often to prolong the blooming time. They are typically grown as annuals but can overwinter in zones Life Cycle : Typically grown as Annuals, but may overwinter in warmer zones. Scientific Name : Antirrhinum majus. Sunflowers are known for their large, brilliantly colored yellow or orangish heads, and are a favorite with butterflies. The fast-growing, erect annuals provide a large landing area with many nectar flowers.

Late summer and early fall blooms make them popular with migratory species and provide bright, sunny flowers at the end of the season. Nectar plant for: Large butterflies like swallowtails and monarchs. Life Cycle: Annual.

Bloom Time : July, August. Scientific Name : Helianthus annus. Swamp Verbena is a versatile plant that is native to North America. It is planted in many gardens due to its ability to thrive in hot conditions and its ability to attract butterflies with its beautiful clusters of small flowers. Verbenas have a long blooming season and come in a variety of colors. Butterflies are drawn to the nectar-rich verbena flowers, while the plant overall acts as a deterrent for deer and rabbits.

Light Requirements : Sun to Partial Shade. Scientific Name : Verbena hastata. One of the easiest annuals to grow, zinnias provide a wealth of color in a garden landscape as well as attracting butterflies. Zinnias grow best from seed and require little care other than deadheading flowers as needed. Varieties are available in a range of colors, shapes, and sizes.

Deadhead spent blooms to encourage a longer blooming season. Life Cycle : Annual.

Gardening for butterflies

Scientific Name: Zinnia elegans. At one time, butterfly bushes were widely recommended for butterfly gardens. But the popular garden varieties imported from China are now being classified as invasive species and weeds. In many areas, they are crowding out native food that is essential to local wildlife butterflies and birds specifically. There are some non-invasive American varieties of butterfly bushes that can be purchased. When I sat down to compile a list of the best plants for attracting butterflies, a few criteria came to mind:.

Butterflies are drawn into a yard or garden that has a plentiful source of nectar flowers. Like bees and hummingbirds, they need the sugary solution to give them energy. But remember that butterflies also need host plants to lay their eggs!

How to Attract Butterflies to your Garden | Forest and Bird

Plants that serve as both nectar and host plants offer butterflies a one-stop shopping place! Although some gardeners like to keep host plants tucked a little bit away from their primary garden plants. I wanted to stick to butterfly plants that are readily available at your local nursery or easy to buy from a reputable online retailer. In fact, many on the list can be ordered and shipped from Amazon, and I include a link whenever possible. They provide excellent sources of energy for butterflies and caterpillars but are also preferred by other pollinators, insects, spiders, etc.

But the line between what is native and what is not is a bit unclear. Also, most plants you see in nurseries are not what you would find in nature anyway, but some cultivar of the wild version of that flower species. So I did my best when trying to make sure the following plants are all native. There is a helpful search tool located on the United States Department of Agriculture website. If you are not sure if a plant is native, type in the scientific name or common name in the search bar on the left-hand side.

It will show you whether the plant is native to North America, introduced, or both. Truth be told, I am certainly not a master gardener. When considering plants, I wanted them suitable for gardening amateurs. Whenever you buy a plant, it displays the hardiness zones on the plant tag. The listed zones explain what climates the plant will thrive in.

For example, I live in Northeast Ohio, which is zone 6a. Check out the USDA website to check your specific zip code.


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Making sure your butterfly plants are appropriate for YOUR hardiness zones is extremely important! But creating your own regionally unique destination for butterflies is part of the fun! I hope you can see there are many plants available that can be planted in a garden to attract butterflies! Some plants provide food for caterpillars, while others entice butterflies with their nectar and many do both!

Planting a variety of nectar and host plants will give butterflies plenty of feeding sources and options in your garden! This variety will attract these winged beauties and also encourage them to stick around and lay eggs. Almost anywhere you live in North America; you have the opportunity to attract bluebirds. Bird Watching HQ. Start Here! So you are looking for plants that attract butterflies?

Well, you are not alone! But figuring out which plants are best for attracting butterflies is hard!

What kind of plants do butterflies need? Some are better suited for different growing zones, some grow to different heights, and they all have slightly different blooming times.

You may need to do additional research or contact a local nursery or butterfly club to find plants that work best in your area. Where appropriate, you can find links to Amazon where you may purchase seeds or small plants , but PLEASE do your due diligence before buying online! Are you curious about how these specific butterfly plants were selected? Host plant for: Silvery Checkerspot Nectar plant for: Many species from small skippers to large swallowtails.

Salvia plants can be divided into three groups: Woody stems. Herbaceous stems that die back to the ground in the winter. Herbaceous stems that form basal rosettes.