There are many good things the lord gave us, one of them being flowers. Lots, and lots, of flowers! Although they are stunning to the eye, flowers play a vital role in the functioning of our ecosystem and its biodiversity.
An amazing thing about flowers, is the attraction they have to helpful beings like butterflies, bees, and ants. All of these animals—including us humans, are dependent on the nectar and pollen produced by the flower. Insects pollinate the flower, which results in a fruit, vegetable, or flower that we eat.
Planting in your vegetable garden is even more rewarding when it is surrounded by plants that attract these necessary insects! Think of how helpful your efforts will be to the butterflies and bees, which in turn, helps your plants prosper too!
When thinking about the types of plants you’ll want in your butterfly garden, consider which flowering plants grow best in your state. Growing native plants not only attracts the insects you want, but can also help conserve water!
Here in Florida, butterfly-attracting plants like the milkweed, tend to flourish because it is native to the state—with about 20 different species!
In growing your butterfly garden, keep in mind that the plants also act as a safe spot for animals like the caterpillar, to lay their eggs on—and different types of flowering plants, attract different species of butterflies.
For example, the following butterfly species, are matched with the plants they seem to be most attracted to:
· Zebra Swallowtail – paw paw tree
· Monarch – milkweed, chives, Siberian wallflower
· Painted Lady – hollyhocks and thistle
· Black Swallowtail – fennel, carrots, parsley
· Giant Swallowtail – citrus tree, prickly ash tree
· Pipevine Swallowtail – Dutchman’s pipevine
· Tiger Swallowtail – tulip poplar, wild cherry tree
· Spicebush Swallowtail – spicebush, sassafras tree
· Red Admiral – false nettles
· Silvery Checkerspot – purple coneflowers
· Sulphur butterfly – white clover and legumes
· Cabbage white – nasturtium, spider flowers(Cleome)
· Pearl Crescent – asters
· Variegated & Gulf Fritillary – passion vines
· Great Spangled Fritillary – violets
It is also wise to include perennials in your design to give your garden year-round prosperity. The perennials that butterflies favor include butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii), garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), bee balm (Monarda didyma) and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).
Arrange your blooms so near-sighted butterflies can easily spot big patches of color. Focus on plants that possess bright tones, most butterflies can’t resist shades of red, yellow, pink, and violet.
Butterflies also, believe it or not, have a keen sense of smell, and are furthermore, lured by fragrant flowers.
In order to ensure your garden keeps sprouting new flowers, be sure to routinely remove spent blooms.
Keep your butterfly garden in a sunny area of your land, since both plants and butterflies thrive most with the sun! But make sure the spot is not too windy, as it can redirect and interrupt the butterflies’ flight path.
With spring not too far off, there is no better time than now, to plan and create the butterfly garden of your dreams!
Source: Vij, Kim, et al. “Butterfly Garden for Raising Eco Friendly Kids.” The Educators' Spin on It, 21 Apr. 2016, theeducatorsspinonit.com/butterfly-garden-raising-eco-friendly-kids/.