How to Create a Butterfly Garden
- List of Best Plants and Flowers to attract butterflies

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Butterfly Garden Ideas:

At first I didn't landscape for Butterflies. I just planted what I like and then the Butterflies, Dragonflies and Hummingbirds started showing up. Then I started to plant those flowers that were attracting Butterflies closer to our seating area and now I'm landscaping for butterflies.

Butterfly Gardening the Easy Way

I don't over think this. Every Butterfly has four life stages:

  1. eggs
  2. caterpillar
  3. chrysalis
  4. adult

So I plant nectar rich flowers to entice the adult Butterflies to stay a while and raise their families.
When I see a chrysalis hanging from a leaf or stem like a precious gem, it makes me smile.

How do you landscape a Butterfly garden:

First I plant the flowers that I like and then I look for rich nectar plants to attract different species of Butterflies.

What are the best plants for Butterflies

I have some perennial and self-seeds in my garden like: hollyhocks, cosmos, sunflowers, milkweed, clover, lavender, fall asters and zinnias. Some butterflies are specific where they lay their eggs, because that's what their caterpillars will eat. Monarch Butterflies will lay their eggs on Milkweed.
Black Swallowtails will lay their eggs on parsley and dill. My Parsley and Dill was cover in caterpillars one year.
The cabbage butterfly will go for plants of the cabbage family.
Painted Lady butterflies prefer plants in the daisy family including zinnias.

What time of day are Butterflies most active:

I find that Butterflies are most active during mid day when the sun is warm and bright.
This makes it challenging for taking pictures.

The best Butterfly plants and trees to attract Butterflies

Purple flowering Butterfly bush, clover, queen-anne's lace, parsley and dill, hollyhocks, milk weed, asters, daisies, purple coneflower, sunflowers, lavenders, sweet alyssum, phlox, goldenrod, french marigolds, thymes, zinnias, honeysuckles, sumacs, willows, basswood and blueberries . Most of these flowers will also attract Hummingbirds.

Create a Succession of Blooms: Aim for a continuous succession of blooms throughout the growing season to provide a consistent food source for butterflies. Choose plants that flower at different times of the year, from early spring to late fall, to ensure there's always something in bloom throughout the entire season.

The difference between a Butterfly and a Moth?

If they sit still long enough:

  1. Butterflies only come out to eat during the day - Moths at Night
  2. Butterflies have thread like antennae with knobs at the tips - Moths antennae are feathery or pointed thread like.
  3. Butterflies have long slender bodies - Moths have large bodies that are thick and short
  4. Butterflies rest their wings straight up over their backs - Moths hold their wings flat at their sides or they fold them over their bodies

This is hard to tell, because these jewels of the garden fly around so fast. I do take a peek at their antennae and their bodies as they wiz by.

2 Kinds of Butterflies according to World Book Encyclopedia

  1. Skippers - 225 Species in North America
  2. True Butterflies - about 475 Species in North America.


No one Knows how Skippers got their name.
They look more like a Moth. They have stout bodies and their antennae tapers to a point like a Moth. Sometimes the tips can form a hook. To me they look like a colourful Moth. :)

Butterfly Interesting Facts:
Did you Know? :)

Butterflies taste with Their Feet: Butterflies have taste receptors on their feet, allowing them to "taste" the plants they land on. This helps them identify suitable host plants for laying eggs and nectar-rich flowers for feeding.

Butterfly Lifespan Variability:: The lifespan of a butterfly varies greatly depending on the species. Some may live for just a few days, while others can survive for several months. Factors such as habitat, climate, and predation play significant roles in determining lifespan.

Unique Feeding Behaviors:: While most adult butterflies feed on nectar from flowers, some species exhibit unique feeding behaviors. For example, some butterflies feed on rotting fruit and tree sap.

Hibernation Strategies:: In colder climates, many butterfly species enter a state of hibernation, known as diapause, to survive the winter months. They may seek shelter in protected locations such as hollow trees, rock crevices, or even human-made structures.

Butterfly Courtship Rituals:: Butterflies have fascinating courtship rituals to attract mates. These rituals can involve intricate flight displays, aerial acrobatics, and the release of pheromones to communicate with potential partners. Some species even engage in "hilltopping," where males gather at the highest points in their habitat to compete for females.

Wing Structure and Function:: The delicate wings of butterflies are made up of thousands of tiny scales, arranged in intricate patterns. These scales not only give butterflies their vibrant colors but also serve to insulate and protect their wings. The wing veins provide structural support and aid in flight by distributing air pressure.

Incredible Flight Abilities:: Butterflies are adept fliers, capable of intricate maneuvers and long-distance migrations. They use a combination of wing movements, body adjustments, and air currents to navigate their environment with precision. Some species can fly at speeds of up to 12 miles per hour.

Butterfly Vision:: Butterflies have remarkable vision, with compound eyes that can detect a wide range of colors, including ultraviolet light. Their eyes also provide them with a wide field of view, allowing them to detect predators making it really hard to get close to take a picture.

Butterfly Sleep Patterns:: Butterflies have unique sleep patterns that differ from mammals and birds. Rather than experiencing deep sleep cycles, butterflies enter a state of rest called "torpor" during the night or during unfavorable weather conditions. During torpor, their metabolic rate decreases, conserving energy until conditions improve.

Symbiotic Relationships:: Butterflies form symbiotic relationships with other organisms, including plants, fungi and microorganisms. Some butterfly larvae have specialized relationships with ants, exchanging sugary secretions for protection against predators.

Butterfly Migration Mysteries:: While some butterfly species, like the monarch, are famous for their long-distance migrations, the exact mechanisms behind these journeys are still being studied. Scientists are intrigued by how butterflies navigate over vast distances, sometimes spanning thousands of miles, often across multiple generations.

Butterfly Communication:: Butterflies communicate with each other through a variety of methods, including visual displays, pheromones, and even sound. Some species produce ultrasonic signals that are beyond human hearing range, allowing them to communicate with potential mates or deter rivals.

Butterfly Wingspan Records:: Some butterfly species boast impressive wingspans, with the largest species reaching over 12 inches from wingtip to wingtip. These giants, such as the Queen Alexandra's birdwing captivate observers with their sheer size and beauty.

Butterfly Caterpillar Defense Mechanisms:: Butterfly caterpillars have evolved various defense mechanisms to protect themselves from predators. Some species have spines or hairs that can be irritating or toxic to predators, while others display warning colors or mimic the appearance of unpalatable species. When I see a fuzzy caterpillar I am so tempt to touch it - is it soft or spiky?

Butterfly Symbiosis with Plants:: Butterflies often form symbiotic relationships with plants, relying on them for food, shelter, and reproduction. In return, butterflies play crucial roles in pollinating flowers and dispersing plant seeds, contributing to the health and diversity of plant communities.

Butterfly Inspiration in Art and Literature: Butterflies have long inspired artists, writers and poets with their ethereal beauty and symbolic significance. They feature prominently in paintings, sculptures, poems and stories, serving as metaphors for transformation, freedom and the fleeting nature of life.
So, grab your camera and go out in nature and be inspired. :)

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