For the record I do not intentionally attempt to attract Butterflies to my garden. You see a beautiful little flying insect fluttering around your garden.
I see a damn pest that is looking for a place to lay her eggs that will hatch and become destructive, garden plant eaters! Eating my tomato, pepper, squash and cucumber vines!
Keep my idea of Butterflies in mind as you read my posting about attracting Butterflies to your yard and garden.
To be successful in attracting butterflies to your garden the two things that are a must have, must do.
First selecting and planting the correct plants for feeding Butterflies and their new hatched young caterpillars.
Second most important thing you must do is to provide a proper water source for them to drink without having to leave your garden to find a watering hole.
Plant wild flowers that are native to your area.
Butterflies and native flowering plants have co-evolved over time and depend on each other for survival and reproduction, it is particularly important to plant native flowering plants found growing and adapted to your geographic area.
**Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has lists of recommended native plants by region and state.
Whether it be native or non-native plant form and color is important. Generally adult butterflies are attracted to red, yellow, orange, pink and purple blossoms that are flat topped or clustered and have short flower tubes. Flowers like morning glory’s and trumpet vines are not good choices to attract Butterflies.
Plant good nectar source flowers in full sun. Your key butterfly nectar source plants should receive full sun from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Butterfly adults generally feed only in the sun. If sun is limited in your landscape, try adding butterfly nectar sources to the vegetable garden.
Plant wild(native) flowers for continuous blooms. Butterflies need nectar throughout the adult phase of their life. Try to plant so that when one plant stops blooming, another begins.
Attracting Butterflies means saying no to insecticides. Insecticides such as malathion, Sevin, and diazinon that are marketed to kill insects. Don’t use these materials in or near the butterfly garden or better, anywhere on your property. Even “benign” insecticides, such as Bacillus thuringiensis, are lethal to butterflies (while in their caterpillar stage).
Feed your butterfly caterpillars. If you don’t “grow” caterpillars, you will not have many adult Butterflies.
Planting caterpillar food plants in your garden can greatly increase your chances of attracting unusual and uncommon butterflies, while giving you yet another reason to plant an increasing variety of native plants.
In many cases, caterpillars of a Butterfly species feed on only a very limited variety of plants.
Provide a place for butterflies to rest. Butterflies need sun for orientation and to warm their wings for flight. Place flat rocks in your garden to provide space for butterflies to rest and warm in the sun.
Give them a place for puddling(a water source). Butterflies often congregate on wet sand and mud (puddling). Drinking water and extracting minerals from damp puddles. Place coarse sand in a shallow pan and then insert the pan in the soil of your Butterfly garden. Make sure to keep the sand moist.
A thin sponge placed in a shallow water dish will also work as a water source for your Butterflies. Butterflies Do Not Like getting their feet wet.
Common Name – Food Source
Acmon Blue – buckwheat, lupines, milkvetch
American Painted Lady – cudweed, everlast
Baird’s Swallowtail – dragon sagebrush
Black Swallowtail – parsley, dill, fennel, common rue
Coral Hairstreak – wild black cherry, American and chickasaw plum, black chokeberry
Dun Skipper – sedges, grasses including purpletop
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – wild black cherry, ash, tulip tree, willow, sweetbay, basswood
Giant Swallowtail – prickly ash, citrus, common rue, hoptree, gas plant, torchwood
Gray Comma – gooseberry, azalea, elm
Great Purple Hairstreak – mistletoe
Gulf Fritillary – maypops, other passion vines
Henry’s Elfin – redbud, dahoon and yaupon hollies, maple-leaved viburnum, blueberries
Monarch – milkweeds
Painted Lady (Cosmopolite) – thistles, mallows, nievitas, yellow fiddleneck
Pygmy Blue – saltbush, lamb’s quarters, pigweed
Red Admiral/White Admiral – wild cherries, black oaks, aspens, yellow and black birch
Silver-Spotted Skipper – locusts, wisteria, other legumes
Spicebush Swallowtail – sassafras, spicebush
Sulphurs – clover, peas, vetch, alfalfa, asters
Variegated Fritillary – passion flower, maypop, violets, stonecrop, purslane
Viceroy – willows, cottonwood, aspen
Western Tailed Blue – vetches, milkvetches
Western Tiger Swallowtail – willow, plum, alder, sycamore, hoptree, ash
Woodland Skipper – grasses
Zebra Swallowtail – pawpaw
Hint: Don’t be concerned if you don’t recognize the Butterflies common name. You may know it by a different name.
However, if you don’t recognize the plants it feeds on, this butterfly is likely not to be found in your area.
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