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Planting for Butterflies

Are you ready to start Planting for Butterflies?

I really love butterflies and there are a few ways to plan your garden area to attract more butterflies.

Butterflies are cold blooded so they need lots of sunshine to keep warm. The flowers they dine on love the sun as much as they do. Plant your butterfly flowers in a spot protected from the wind and gets at least six hours of sun. Add a rock or two for a perch and a saucer for sips of water. Avoid using pesticides as they can harm the butterflies.

Butterflies are attracted to color. Consider five or more plant groups. A beautiful combination could be drifts of sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, globe thistle and phlox.

Because butterflies have different length tongues it determine which flowers they can feed from. Planting a variety of flowers can attract a variety of butterflies.

To help start the butterflies, feed the baby butterflies–aka caterpillars–they are picky eaters, so indulge them by growing plants they love. Don’t worry about the damage, just hide it behind taller plants.

Some plants that attract and satisfy the caterpillars include:

  • Dill, parsley (pictured) Black Swallowtail
  • Hops commas
  • Milkweed Monarch
  • Pawpaw Zebra Swallowtail
  • Snapdragon Common Buckeye
  • Violets Great Spangled Fritillary
  • Wild senna Cloudless Sulfur
  • Willow Mourning Cloak, Viceroy
  • Wormwood American Lady

Plan for plants to bloom after other stop, so there are always blooms to attract the butterflies.

Spring options:

  • Blackhaw viburnum
  • Blueberry
  • Bluestar
  • Candytuft
  • Dame’s rocket
  • Lilac
  • Lupine
  • Privet
  • Wild plum

Summer options:

  • Butterfly bush (Buddleia)
  • Buttonbush (Cephalanthus)
  • Bee balm (Monarda)
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Blanket flower (Gaillardia)
  • Blazing star (Liatris)
  • Cosmos
  • Lanceleaf coreopsis
  • Leadplant (Amorpha)
  • Milkweed (Asclepias)
  • New Jersey tea (Ceanothus)
  • Prairie clover (Petalostemum)
  • Purple coneflower

Fall options:

  • Aster
  • Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’
  • Cushion spurge (Euphorbia polychroma)
  • Goldenrod and dwarf goldenrod (Solidago canadensis ‘Baby Gold’)
  • Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis)
  • Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium; pictured)
  • Pale-leaf sunflower (Helianthus strumosus) Scabiosa
  • Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’
  • Sneezeweed (Helenium)
  • Steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa)
  • Sweet black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia subtomentosa)

We hope you enjoyed our tips Planting for Butterflies, and invite you to come back often for additional tips