Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gardening for butterflies

This is a repost from August 2011. As you plan your garden, here are some tips to attract butterflies.

We've been seeing a number of butterflies in the gardens recently. In the center photo is a a black swallowtail caterpillar. It's on the ammi majus plant.  Also note the butterflies on the coneflower, the milkweed, the verbena bonariensis and in the daylily.

Do you garden for wildlife? Butterflies not only add beauty to the garden, but they also are pollinators.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, to attract butterflies you must incorporate plants that serve all the life stages of the butterfly.  The insects need a place to lay their eggs, food plants for the caterpillars, places to form chrysalides and nectar sources for adults. Here are some guidelines to help you make appropriate plant choices:

Plant native plants

Plant good nectar source plants in areas that receive full sun from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.

Plant so that you have continuous blooming through the season.

Don't use insecticides.

Bring caterpillar foods into your garden. For a list of common butterflies and the foods their caterpillars eat, click here.

Give butterflies a place to rest and lie in the sun (flat stones).

Provide a shallow pan of coarse sand into the soil of your garden and keep it moist. Butterflies often congregate on wet sand and mud to drink water and extract minerals.

Also, did you know that the National Wildlife Federation is having a nationwide drive to create 150,000 wildlife habitats? Creating a habitat involves providing food, water, cover and places for wildlife to raise their young.  For more information, or to certify your habitat visit their website.

If you garden in such a way as that you attract wildlife, you win, and so do they.

Today I am linking with the following parties:

Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life


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