One of the most popular theme gardens is a butterfly garden. Who can resist those delicate, magical creatures that float through the air, and can bring a smile to the face of the most grizzled old hermit? Let’s face it, everyone loves the butterflies. It isn’t hard to create a garden that is more friendly to butterflies visiting, and spending some time with you. Fall is a great time to put in butterfly plants and habitats, so that they are ready to bloom in the spring and summer, when butterfly sightings are at their peak. But you can plan a butterfly garden any time of year, and plant one in all seasons except the cold of winter. Heres what you need to know to bring in the butterflies!
So one of the most obvious and effective ways to lure butterflies in, is by planting flowers that supply the nectar they prefer. While certain butterflies prefer particular flowers, (and that varies on area) there are some that are pretty safe bets for a good butterfly garden. The bonus here is that not only are all these plants gorgeous, some of them attract hummingbirds as well! Here are our top favs…
Butterfly Bush – One of our favorites, easy to grow (too easy in some places, it can be invasive!) We have a whole post on how to grow butterfly bush!
Coneflower – Technically a wildflower that has become hot in gardens today, there are more types of coneflower than I can count now! Drought resistant and loves sun, these beauties can bloom mid summer to frost. They also make good cut flowers as well.
Black Eyed Susan – Grown in similar conditions to coneflower, another prairie plant that has a lot of hybrids these days, small to large, yellow to orange! Perfect for a late summer garden!
Sedums – Popular indoors and out, garden sedums flower in clusters in the late summer and fall, and butterflies love the broad blooms.
Hollyhocks – Hollyhocks are tall, old fashioned, and perfectly charming… And the double ones are especially preferred by butterflies.
Butterfly Weed – Also called milkweed, this is the flowering plant butterflies adore… However, if you plant it, be aware larva may make a meal of some of your plants early in the season.
Joe Pye Weed – Tall, towering plants that love moist soil. There are dwarf varieties, so ask at your local nursery what they recommend.
Aster – Another butterfly favorite, this fall blooming perennial comes in sizes from creepers, to 4 feet tall.
If that isn’t enough to get you started, try this list of butterfly plants from ‘Kids Growing Strong‘…
Don’t want to wait for the flowers to bloom? Make a DIY butterfly feeder with these instruction from ‘Gnowfglins’.
Butterflies like protection from the wind, and a warm place to sun themselves. You can do this as simply as planting a tall tree that faces south, laying large flat rocks in protected areas of the garden, or going as far as building a butterfly house. ‘Woodlogger’ has a step by step tutorial on how to make a butterfly house…
Butterflies need water too, but will usually drink from mud puddles or off leaves. They won’t usually risk drinking from a bird bath or deep water source. Provide a shallow saucer filled with wet sand… May not sound like a good cool drink to you, but works great for them!
Butterflies not only need flowers for nectar, if you want them to lay eggs and have a family right there in your yard, you need to provide a food the larva like to eat. Milkweed is a fav of Monarchs, parsley is a fav of the swallowtail… Research butterflies for your area.
That’s all there is to bringing butterflies to your garden… One last tip – Have your camera ready!
Image Credits: HGTV Gardens, Midwest Living, BHG, Kids Growing Strong, Gnowfglins, Woodlogger