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Plants to Attract Butterflies

Here are some tips on creating a garden environment attractive to butterflies.

  • Choose a warm, sunny location.  Butterflies are warm-weather fans.  Take advantage of warm southern exposures to prolong flowers of fall-blooming species.
  • Plant in masses.  Masses of colorful, fragrant flowers are more likely to capture the attention of a passing butterfly. One plant here and there will not be nearly as effective as three or more flowering plants grouped together.
  • Choose flowers that are flat-topped or clustered and have short flower tubes. Butterflies like landing pads where they can sit comfortably to sip nectar.
  • Choose flowers in yellow, orange, red, and pink. Butterflies prefer these colors, but they will also visit flowers of other colors.
  • Plant with different blooming periods in mind. Butterflies may be on the wing at different times during the spring, summer and fall.
  • Provide windbreaks. The butterflies wonít be buffeted by the wind and wonít have to expend extra energy as they fly about looking for food and mates.
  • Provide flat stones or rocks. Butterflies like places to rest and places to bask in the sun.
  • Provide areas of damp soil. Male butterflies like to take in salts and nutrients from muddy soils.
  • Donít use herbicides or pesticides. Herbicides may kill larval foodplants; pesticides may kill both the caterpillars and adults.
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    Recommended Plants

     

    Annuals

    Carnation

    Cosmos

    Dianthus/Pinks

    Dahlia

    Heliotrope

    Lantana

    Lobelia

    Marigold

    Phlox

    Salvia

    Snapdragon

    Sunflower

    Verbena

    Zinnia

    Perennials

    Astilbe

    Beardtongue (Penstemon)

    Bellflower (Campanula)

    Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

    Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)

    Candytuft (Iberis)

    Cardinal Flower (Lobelia)

    Carnation

    Columbine (Aquilegia)

    Coneflower (Echinacea)

    Delphinium

    Phlox (Garden Phlox)

    Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa)

    Russian Sage (Perovskia)

    Salvia

    Shasta Daisy

    (Chrysanthemum/Leucanthemum)

    Speedwell (Veronica)

    Stone Crop (Sedum)

    Tickseed (Coreopsis)

    Wallflower (Erysimum)

    Yarrow (Achillea)

    Herbs

    Borage

    Chives

    Dill

    Fennel

    Onion

    Lavender

    Lemon Balm

    Marjoram

    Mint

    Oregano

    Parsley

    Rosemary

    Sage

    Thyme

    And most flowering herbs

     

    Shrubs

    Butterfly Bush

    Caryopteris

    Heather



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