Cultivating a butterfly garden with botanical species that will encourage consistently large populations of skippers and gossamer wings is relatively easy if you choose plants that offer food for these vibrant, winged creatures and their larvae offspring. Such a garden will not only allow you to study the beauty of butterflies up close, but they will also result in colorful blossoms and sweet-scented petals to expand the aesthetics of your home and grounds. Although butterflies can be spotted all summer long, their most dynamic presence is usually in August when they feed and lay eggs. During that time, these plants provide a sunny, nutritive breeding resort. Be sure to create open, sunny spots as well as shaded garden sections so butterflies can use the environment to adjust body temperatures since they do not have internal control. Also, punctuating the flower bed with a basin or other water feature will render the setting doubly attractive to butterflies who also gravitate toward water.
Nectar Plants to Attract Butterflies
Not just any nectar has the power to pull large flocks of swallowtails and brush-footed butterflies. Finicky consumers, some species are drawn to blue plants with sweet nectar like the aster plant, while others are drawn to the peach tones of daylilies or the rich, orange hues of butterfly weed, which offer their own uniquely tasting nectar. Thus, the key to amassing a diverse swell of butterflies is to stagger different plant breeds throughout your garden to ensure a flower buffet that appeals to as many butterflies as possible. Choose a variety of colors, heights, and scents.
Golden-ball Lead Tree
Mexican Bush Sage
Larval Food Plants
After feasting on plants filled with nectar, butterflies which are female will look for suitable places to lay their eggs. Once those eggs hatch and turn into caterpillars, the garden will need to have excess foliage on which these caterpillars can chew. The larvae and caterpillars of Red Admiral butterflies, for example, like to feed on nettle; other species gravitate toward honeysuckle and different oaks. Being vulnerable, these caterpillars and larvae will need a garden that blends in with their body colors to create an effective camouflage from natural predators which will also flock to the garden.
Toothache Tree (Prickly Ash)
St. Augustine grass
Antelope Horns (Asclepias)
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