You can attract butterflies to your yard by growing flowering plants they love to visit. Follow four simple steps to get started.
Grow native flowering plants with nectar. Butterflies are attracted to plants with red, yellow, orange, pink or purple blossoms. They also visit flowers with flat tops to give them a place to sit and those that grow in clusters or with short flower tubes. The following plants are a few of many varieties to grow in your butterfly garden.
Butterfly bush is one of my favorites. This bush when mature grows to 6, 8 or even 10 feet tall with beautiful purplish blue cone shaped flowers. Lavender has a beautiful smell and holds blooms on for weeks. Cosmos (various brilliant flowers) and Coreopsis (brilliant orange) are both tall and lanky. They can make any garden look fresh and full of vitality. Marigolds grow in bunches close to the ground, usually bright yellow or orange. Zinnias, asters, goldenrods, lilacs and primroses will attract butterflies too.
Provide a water source. Bird baths, shallow puddles, ponds, waterfalls are great ideas. You can also use indentations in rocks to hold a small amount of water. Keep water free of dirt and debris by replacing or circulating water so the butterflies have a clean place to get a drink.
Offer shelter. Butterflies do not fly at night and need to stay out of the rain. Their delicate wings cannot resist the forces of wind and rain. Piles of flat rocks, trees, tall grasses, leaves or hollow logs are excellent places for them to rest and stay dry. Butterflies, like humans, like to sunbathe and stay warm!
Avoid using insecticides anywhere on your property when you want butterflies. The toxins remain in the ground and can leach to nearby areas.
Growing your own butterfly garden, helps butterflies find a home so they can lay eggs and produce more butterflies. Some butterflies live only a matter of weeks. Others can live nearly a year.
Learn more about butterfly gardening at the California Native Plant Society. gardening page.