Butterflies are beautiful and they are crucial to environmental health too. They transport pollen from plant to plant and enhance pollination. Butterflies need flowers that provide nectar from mid to the end of summer. The plants should be in full sun, where butterflies like to feed. Chemical insecticides should not be used, as they kill butterflies. Butterflies also enjoy a spot to sip a bit of water, so a few rocks in a shallow pool or bowl of water will give them a place to rest and gain hydration.
I find butterflies entrancing. They are so beautiful and their floating about a garden helps me slow down and enjoy the moment of beauty. One summer I started keeping a nature journal about what kind of butterflies I spotted and where they were. I find in the deep of winter it is very enjoyable to take out the butterfly journal and remember the magic of seeing a butterfly swoop about colorful flowers. I always find it so joyful to see a butterfly and think that no matter how advanced our world becomes, these creature live among us, floating along from garden to garden giving a gift of joy to who ever spots them.
It is easy to attract butterflies. All you really need is a butterfly bush. This lone plant, with its rapid growth and profuse flowers will attract swarms of butterflies. A purple flower is found on the classic butterfly bush. However, now the species comes in many colors so you may have a full palette of bushes. However for a wonderfully lush butterfly garden it is so much more fun to also plant many colorful flowers to attract a variety of butterflies!
Each butterfly starts as a caterpillar so a good place to start your garden is by growing plants that provide food for caterpillars. The baby caterpillars feed where they are born so these plants will be quite chewed up; you may want to put them in a somewhat nonvisible part of the garden.
Caterpillars will find sustenance on the following plants:
Then, when butterflies arrive, make sure you have plants and flowers abloom. Plants that provide food for butterflies include: lilacs, burning bush and azaleas.
Flowers that feed butterflies are: Butterflyweed, Queen Anne’s lace, daylily, cosmos, zinnia, purple coneflower, bee balm, daffodil, phlox, black eyed Susan, columbine, Shasta daisy, sweet pea, English lavender, violets, chrysanthemum, lupine, mint, Indian blanket, and passion flower.
Bougainvillea vines also provide flowers that feed butterflies and are very beautiful!
If you enjoy butterflies you may want to visit public Butterfly Gardens. In Washington, DC, The Smithsonian Butterfly Garden is located at the Ninth St. side of the Natl. Museum of Natural History Building.