Creating a Butterfly Garden
Do you love the sight of blooming flowers with beautiful butterflies fluttering around them? Plant a butterfly garden! With a little knowledge and a nice area to plant, it is really very simple to plant a butterfly garden or just turn your existing flower gardens into beautiful butterfly gardens.
To attract butterflies, you will need to keep a few things in mind. Butterflies need sunshine to keep warm, and most of the flowers they like best need sunshine too. Make sure that you select a sunny location (preferably in a wind protected area) for your garden. For best results, plant the tallest flowers behind the shorter ones--so you'll be able to see all the flowers and butterflies that appear in your garden. Adding rocks and bricks for the butterflies to bask in the sun will keep the butterflies close to your yard. Rocks are convenient perches for butterflies to sun themselves and are also a very decorative addition to your garden. They also need still water on the ground - a birdbath or even a jar lid will work for that.
Adult butterflies are attracted to sweet, sharp and fragrant smells and the colors orange, yellow, pink, purple and red. A variety of blossoms offer nectar to adult butterflies, while leafy food sources, such as parsley or bronze fennel, nourish the larvae.
When selecting your plants, choose a variety of plants so there will be flowers blooming at all times during the summer. If you plant only one type of flower and they bloom and die, the butterflies will leave. Here are some of the plants that butterflies are the most attracted to: Daylily, Iris, Lavender, Milkweed, Petunia, Phlox, Asters, Butterfly bush, Heliotrope, Cosmos, Clover, Zinnia. Some other plants that I've found that they like in my garden are Purple Gayfeather and Bee Balm. Not only do the butterflies love them, but hummingbirds are attracted to them also.
Butterflies also love it when you put out rotting fruit, such as watermelon. If you have a problem with ants you may not want to do this, but it really does attract the butterflies. Another thing they seem to love is to have a water mister out during very hot days. They love to fly through the water and the birds love it too! It's important to remember to refrain from the use of chemical insecticides, which will kill the butterflies you attract.
Remember, the general requirements for butterfly gardening are: sunny, preferably a wind protected area, some water, nectar source plants, larval host plants, & a pesticide-free environment. Once you have planted your butterfly garden, sit back and enjoy it for years to come.
This article is courtesy of Darlene Anderson
Picture courtesy of Tenerife Magazine
Butterfly Garden Essentials
Butterfly gardening can be a means for folks to change their gardens into sanctuaries for butterflies. Simply by growing nectar plants and host plants (for the caterpillar to grow on) folks will begin to save the butterfly population.
Growing a sufficient source of host plants provides butterflies an area to lay their eggs, that will successfully hatch and lead to butterflies which will keep visiting the garden. Grow the proper host plant for the proper butterfly and they will come into your backyard. Grow nectar plants and they will remain inside your backyard. Plants having clustered flowers provide butterflies access to more nectar sources in one stop as compared to plants having small, single flowers. Color plays a considerable part in organizing nectar sources inside your butterfly garden. Blooming plants require sunlight to grow in order to create nectar for butterflies. Growing a successful butterfly garden is easy, nonetheless it will call for proper planning plus a bit of preliminary research. Plant the garden alongside a natural or man-made windbreak. Hedgerows, edges of forests, walls of houses, as well as footings of forgotten buildings protect butterflies from the wind. Place some fruit trees or leave bowls of fruit outdoors to catch the attention of and feed the butterflies. Many butterflies get so full of fruit they might remain still long enough for you to approach them.
Flowers in the daisy family as well as flowers within clusters such as milkweed and viburnum are excellent selections. Make an effort to plant various wildflowers in groups of three to five plants. Plants which are proven to entice butterflies are cone flowers, daisies, sunflowers, lilies and marigolds. You can begin growing a few of these from seed inside your backyard or greenhouse. With regards to gardeners that wish to attract monarch butterflies, milkweed flowers are a must seeing as their caterpillars feast solely on milkweed.
Nectar is their principal food supply, and the majority of common butterflies are fairly indiscriminate about where they obtain it. However, the adult butterfly is merely one generation within the life-cycle of its species. Nectar plants supply nutrition for the adult butterflies. Although it is feasible to create a butterfly garden with only nectar plants, the variety of butterflies traveling to these gardens is going to be less than those gardens which include larval food plants.
Caterpillars, which transform into butterflies, need particular types of plants to feed on. They are referred to as host plants. Caterpillar food plants in many cases are commonplace "weeds" therefore host plants usually are not obligatory, particularly if you reside in a rural community. However, if your garden includes at least a handful of caterpillar plants, the variety and number of butterflies will increase. Adults lay eggs on plants which their young can eat. Caterpillars feast on leaves of trees and shrubs, blossoms, vegetables and weeds. Certain types of caterpillars tend to be discriminating eaters which will feed on just one type of plant.
Designing gardens which mirror our tastes and choices in plants can be a fulfilling enterprise. You can easily bring an additional dimension to your endeavours by building an environment which attracts and nurtures butterflies.
This article is courtesy of Charles Allen