Butterfly Gardening

March 21, 2006 @ 11:43 am | Filed under: Butterflies, Nature Study

After my butterflies post, Love2LearnMom asked:

Do you know of a good site or book for finding plants that attract butterflies (and perhaps hummingbirds) well?

We are big fans of ButterflyBushes.com. Lots of good information about both types of plants necessary to attract butterflies to your garden—nectar sources and caterpillar food sources. Each species of butterfly seeks out specific plants to lay its eggs on, so you need to provide these host plants or you’ll just have occasional passerby butterflies sipping at your flowers. For example, black swallowtail larvae like fennel, dill, rue, and parsley. Baltimore Checkerspots like Turtlehead (which has quite a pretty flower).

ButterflyBushes.com also sells hummingbird-attracting plants. Cardinal flower is our favorite!

I have ordered from these folks many times and have always been pleased with their plants. We bought several little four-dollar butterfly bushes from them a few years ago, and now they tower over my head! (And I cut them back almost to the ground every March.)

But even if you don’t want to order from them, their site is extremely informative. You’ll have fun browsing.


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Comments

6 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Thanks much Lissa! I’ll definitely check it out. Our Bernie (age 6) is especially excited about garden planning this year. Figures we had snow again today, sigh.

  2. How strange, butterflybushes.com can ship to Illinois, but not to Wisconsin. I wonder why?

  3. Lovetolearn: If you’re in WI, you can plant a couple of milkweed plants in spring and you’ll have plenty of Monarchs coming through and laying eggs in the summer. We usually raise a few eggs by hand in a container. In Milwaukee, you can buy a variety of milkweed plants at Minor’s Garden Center (probably other places too but that’s where I’ve bought them). We’ve also attracted and raised swallowtail butterflies with dill plants. And zinnias generally attract a variety of butterflies. We’ve had hummingbirds visit our tithonia (also known as mexican sunflower).

  4. Great! Thanks much!

  5. Melissa, thank you for the Butterfly Bushes recommendation. I’m going to hop over to the site now. Our yard attracts butterflies (cabbage whites), praying mantises, and dragonflies, so just think what we could get if we make it even more hospitable!

  6. Thanks for the link. I don’t know how I missed this one. We actually started a butterfly garden this year, although I don’t think we’ll have any butterflies in it until next year. It was a fun project to do with my son and 2 of his friends.