Butterfly Gardening

What  better way to enjoy your personal space than to add a butterfly garden?  It is fun and educational allowing us to obtain that new “green feeling” of being one with nature.

A basic understanding of the life history of butterflies, their food needs and the plants that provide shelter is all the information you need to plan and grow a garden suited for butterflies. A knowledge of local butterfly species and the plants that are specific to them is also necessary. 

Butterflies are most abundant spring through fall. Several species of butterflies-monarchs, cloudless sulfurs and snout butterflies- migrate during late summer and fall. Plants that flower throughout the summer and into October and November attract these migrating butterflies.

Excellent nectar sources that are offered at Heirloom Gardens include:

White Mist Flower, Eupatorium wrightii
Almond Verbena,  Alloysia
Blue Mist flower, Eupatorium greggii
Butterfly BushBuddelia species
All Lantana Species
Cestrum species
Salvia x ‘Indigo Spires’
PorterWeed species
Salvia coccinea
Roadside Verbena
Other asst Salvia species
Queen Anne’s Lace
Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberose
Mexican Mint Marigold, Tagetes lucida
Common Button bush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
Verbena species



Many flowers are used by passing butterflies, but the “five course meal” are those that provide a lingering visit for our fluttering friends in a place of a “quick bite.”

Most species of butterflies over winter as one of the developmental stages of the egg, caterpillar, pupa ar chrysalis. Most caterpillars develop through the first stages, molting between each stage, over 2-6 weeks before forming a chrysallis. Pest management in a butterfly garden a lot on the “side of caution.” Remember, when treating insect infestations, nearly every method will directly affect the life stages of the butterfly. Plant enough to take care of the hungry caterpillars!

Host plants for butterfly larva are

Passion Vine- Gulf Fritillary    
Parsley- Black Swallowtail
Sweet Fennel- Black Swallowtail
Yarrow Species- Painted Lady
Bronze Fennel- Black Swallowtail
Artemesia-Painted Lady
Butterfly Weed- Monarchs
Aster species- Pearl Crescent
Dill- Black Swallowtail
Bidens sp. - Dainty Sulfur
Plumbago- Cassius Blue and Marine Blue
Purslope- Variegated FiHillary
Queen Anne’s Lace