There may not be a creature on earth that is more admired by children and perhaps adults, than the butterfly. Why not put out a welcome mat for these amazing creatures? One of the most wonderful features that butterflies have is that they are easy to attract into your own back yard. Our backyard oasis was designed to attract butterflies by providing them with only four things; 1) Plants that the baby caterpillars can feed on 2) Host plants that serve for laying eggs, 3) Flowers that provide nectar and 4) shelter from wind and predators.
Plants that provide Nectar
Your own observations will tell you what kind of flowers will attract butterflies where you live. Start by setting aside a sunny part of your garden to grow wild flowers. Among the wild flowers try planting a Butterfly Bush (buddleia). It's fragrant flowers spikes bloom from July until the first frost--and most butterflies can't resist them.
In planting perennials, consider Phlox, Yarrow, Black Eyed Susans, Coreopsis, and Shasta daisies. We have had great success in attracting the Tiger swallowtails and Monarchs.
I had to snap several photos in order to finally capture the beautiful wings of this lovely Eastern Tiger Swallow Tail Butterfly.
Plants that caterpillars can feed from
One good way to insure a continuing supply of butterflies is to put in plants that will feed caterpillars and their larvae. Consider Bermuda grass, clover, dock, hollyhock, lupine, nettle, St. Augustine grass, and turtle head for this purpose.
Shelter for Butterflies
Butterfly houses, similar to bird houses, provide shelter to the fragile creatures during storms as well as food. They may be brightly painted, just as their inhabitants are.
Planting a butterfly garden will not only attract these beautiful insects to your yard, but it will also preserve them. Many species of butterfly are endangered and creating a habitat where they can thrive will help them to survive.
Because many butterfly species are threatened, please don't try to "preserve" their beauty by killing them & mounting them in boxes. Admire them in their natural habitat.
I must admit, these are beautiful and they are so large in size. This is the Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, isn't he a beauty?
What attracts these amazing creatures here in our garden the most are the wildflowers like the buddleia, also known as the butterfly bush. We have plenty of those around the property and they attract the hummingbirds too. Many zinnias planted in a garden along with purple cone flowers are appreciated by all these amazing creatures and the flowers bring in beautiful colors into your garden.
To find out what plants attract butterflies in your area, visit your local gardening store.
I hope that you have enjoyed our little butterfly adventure, these are only a few of the many photos taken in our butterfly garden and I hope that you enjoy.
Note: No butterflies were harmed.