Tips for Butterfly Gardening
Choose a warm, sunny location. Butterflies are warm-weather fans. Take advantage of warm southern exposures to prolong flowers of fall-blooming species.
Plant in masses. Masses of colorful, fragrant flowers are more likely to capture the attention of a passing butterfly. One plant here and there will not be nearly as effective as five flowering plants grouped together.
Choose flowers that are flat-topped or clustered and have short flower tubes. Butterflies like landing pads where they can sit comfortably to sip nectar.
Choose flowers in the yellow, orange, red, and pink range. These are preferred by butterflies, but they will also visit flowers of other colors.
Plant with different blooming periods in mind. Butterflies may be on the wing year round in our area.
Include larval food plants for different species. For a truly effective butterfly garden, you need to provide places for the adults to lay eggs and leaves for the caterpillars to eat.
Provide windbreaks. The butterflies won’t be buffeted by the wind and won’t have to expend extra energy as they fly about looking for food and mates.
Provide shade. Even warm weather creatures need some shade, particularly when temperatures rise above 95 degrees.
Provide flat stones or rocks. Butterflies like places to rest and places to bask in the sun.
Provide areas of damp soil. Male butterflies like to take in salts and nutrients from muddy soils.
Don’t use herbicides or pesticides. Herbicides may kill the larval foodplants; pesticides may kill both the caterpillars and adults.