Butterfly Gardening

by Jane Lake
www.allfreecrafts.com

Butterfly gardening is not only a joy; it is one way that you can help restore declining butterfly populations. Simply by adding a few new plants to your backyard, you may attract up to 50 different butterflies, according to the University of Guelph.

Butterflies, like honeybees, are excellent pollinators and will help increase your flower, fruit and vegetable production if you provide them with a variety of flowers and shrubs. They are also beautiful to watch, and are sometimes called "flowers on the wing."

- Begin by seeding part of your yard with a wildflower or butterfly seed mix, available through seed catalogues and garden centers. Wildflowers are a good food source for butterflies and their caterpillars.

- Provide a broad range of flower colors. Some butterflies prefer oranges, reds and yellows, while others like whites, purples and blues.

- Choose simple flowers over double hybrids. They offer an easy-to-reach nectar source.

- Arrange wildflowers and cultivated plants in clumps to make it easier for butterflies to identify them as a source of nectar.

- If caterpillars are destroying favorite plants, transfer them by hand to another food source. Avoid the use of pesticides, which can kill butterflies and other beneficial insects.

- Some common caterpillar food sources are asters, borage, chickweed, clover, crabgrass, hollyhocks, lupines, mallows, marigold, milkweed or butterfly weed, nasturtium, parsley, pearly everlasting, ragweed, spicebush, thistle, violets and wisteria. Caterpillars also thrive on trees such as ash, birch, black locust, elm and oak.

- Annual nectar plants include ageratum, alyssum, candy tuft, dill, cosmos, pinks, pin cushion flower, verbena and zinnia.

- Common perennial nectar plants include chives, onions, pearly everlasting, chamomile, butterfly weed, milkweeds, daisies, thistles, purple coneflower, sea holly, blanket flower, lavender, marjoram, mints, moss phlox, sage, stonecrops, goldenrod, dandelion and valerian.

Remember that butterflies are cold-blooded insects that bask in the sun to warm their wings for flight and to orient themselves. They also need shelter from the wind, a source of water, and partly shady areas provided by trees and shrubs.

About the Author:
Jane Lake is a professional writer whose articles have appeared in Canadian Living, You, Modern Woman, and Highlights magazines. She has written a two-part series on Butterfly Gardening, including how to make your own butterfly nectar. See "How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden" at http://www.allfreecrafts.com/gardening/butterfly-gardening.shtml and "How to Make Butterfly Food" at http://www.allfreecrafts.com/gardening/butterfly-food.shtml which also offers instructions to make your own butterfly feeders.

2
Average: 2 (2 votes)
 

1 comment

By PJK56 on 06/23/10 at 10:57 am

Very interesting article. I have a big corner in our backyard that is away from traffic, that I've planted tropicals, and butterfly bushes. I have a bir  ...

Sign in to leave a comment!

Today on JustMommies

Get your Summer Camp Labels! (Sponsored)

Rejoice, parents! Summer time is just around the corner. The warm weather is coming and school will soon end which means…summer camp.

Signs of Low Self-Esteem in Kids

You love your kids with all of your heart and when they struggle with loving themselves, it's heartbreaking to watch.

From The Message Boards

JustMommies Article Commentary

Reading Readiness – Preparing Your Child to Read

One of the most important things you can do for your child is to encourage and prepare him to read....

Mommy Weightloss and Fitness

Free access to our VIP facebook group

Hi everyone :) I want to give you guys free access to our facebook VIP group where you can interact...

Siggies R Us

Pregnancy/New Siggy Request/Ultrasound

I would love a new siggy! I am not too picky. We are expecting and hoping for a girl as we have 2 tw...

Siggy Makers' Lounge

Hey!! Any originals still around ??

Boy i've not been here in a while!!! Tried logging in but couldn't remember details .. so clicked on...

Need Help Navigating JM?

Best birth control

Hi, I was wondering what kind of birth control did you use whe you were done having babies. I really...