One of the most picturesque images is that of a butterfly drifting through a garden in full bloom. In order to attract these beautiful and whimsical creatures to your flowers, there are a few steps you should take.
The first step is to research and identify which butterflies frequent your region. You can do this with the internet or with guides found in book stores and your local library. For instance, Monarchs, red admirals and painted ladies are common across the country, but you’re not likely to see many giant swallowtails in Minnesota, since they prefer warmer climates.
Identify Host Plants
Each butterfly is attracted by a different plant. This isn’t necessarily because of their individual tastes for pollen, so much as the need to provide food for caterpillars. Each respective species has a specialized taste for certain types of plants.
Once you’ve figured out which butterflies you’d like to attract more of, look up what plants the caterpillars feed on. Since their offspring start to eat shortly after hatching, female adults will lay the eggs on or very close to their host plants.
Since the plants are food for the caterpillars, their leaves will be eaten up or absent as the insect continues on its growth cycle.
Are the Plants a Good Fit?
Many of the host plants aren’t considered very pretty by most standards. Monarchs, for instance, prefer milkweed. This type of greenery is considered a weed, so it won’t fit with many types of gardens. If you want to attract monarchs with it, you can either try hiding it in your garden or plant it nearby, but separate from the flowers you have for show. Other plants, like the tiger swallow tail’s favored ash, may be too big to work with the unique scheme of your garden.
There are so many butterflies that range across the country that you’re sure to find some plants to draw the local species you enjoy. If you’re interested in adding a butterfly-friendly garden bed to your yard, please give us a call.