A butterfly can bring a garden to life, just as a garden can nurture the life of a butterfly. When you create a butterfly garden you create a pocket of wonder as well as a sanctuary for the butterfly.
Creating a butterfly garden is easy. You need two types of plants for your butterfly garden: nectar plants for adult butterflies and larval plants fro the caterpillar stage of the butterfly. The adult butterfly’s favorite blooms are the sweetest, most colorful ones. Since their main food is nectar from flowers the best way to attract them to your home garden is to plant their favorites in large groupings. As far as butterflies are concerned there can never be too many flowers!
All butterfly gardens should include larval plants. These are the plants that the butterflies lay their eggs on. The adult female butterfly will lay eggs, singly or in large groups (depending on the species) on the underside of the leaves. After the eggs hatch the young caterpillars feed on the plants. Don’t be surprised to see some of the leaves on the larval plants eaten and chewed. This is normal and the plants will survive and recover. If the chewed look bothers you consider planting larval plants in an out of the way area of the garden. In the next stage the pupa attaches to twigs, leaves and grasses, its woven cocoon mimicking the colors of the surrounding landscape. When the metamorphosis is complete the adult butterfly takes wing!
Butterfly gardens are generally planted in sunny locations. In fact butterflies bask in the sun to warm themselves for flight. A flat stone will do the trick. It is important to keep your garden in an area protected from the wind and refrain from using harmful chemicals. If you don’t have the space in your yard for a butterfly garden, you can still attract butterflies with a few well chosen plants grown in containers.
Nectar Plants for Butterflies