We were lucky when we bought our house in Houston, Texas as it already had a gorgeous Confetti Lantana that draws lots and lots of butterflies. Butterfly gardens are one of the prettiest types of gardens you can plant, as butterflies love color. Planting a butterfly garden is very easy to do in Houston, Texas, as there are so many plants, flowers and shrubs here that will bring butterflies flocking to your yard. Just follow a few simple guidelines and tips and you’ll be enjoying your butterflies in no time.
To attract butterflies to your Houston, Texas garden, you’ll need to plant nectar plants (for the butterflies to feed from) as well as host plants (where they complete their lifecycles – egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly.) Some butterflies you are likely to see in Houston, Texas include Monarchs, Queen Butterflies, Sulphur Butterflies, Gulf Fritillaries, Zebra Longwings (rare), and Giant, Pipevine, Polydamas and Black Swallowtails.
Nectar plants. Nectar plants usually make for a lovely garden, and butterflies will alight on the flowers to sip delicately. Plant nectar flowers in groups, and remember that the more color you have, the more butterflies you will attract to your Houston, Texas garden. Also try to plant flowers with different bloom seasons, so that there will be a constant supply of nectar. Zinnias, bee balm, cupheas and the above mentioned lantana are all great nectar plants for your Houston, Texas garden.
Host plants. You’ll need host plants, too, in your Houston, Texas garden. Some of these aren’t as pretty as plants that just feed your butterflies, but those little beauties need a place to lay their eggs, eat when they are caterpillars, and form their chrysalises. If your host plants look well bitten, that is a great sign. Many varieties of butterflies are particular about their host plants, so if you are looking to draw a certain species of butterfly to your Houston, Texas garden, find out what type of host plant they prefer (and then plant it!) For example, Monarchs prefer milkweed, and the Black Swallowtail is drawn to dill, parsley and fennel.
Don’t use pesticides or other chemicals on or near your butterfly garden, as it will kill your butterflies. The same goes for “organic” pesticides. Anything meant to kill a pest could interpret that as a caterpillar (i.e. a baby butterfly) or an adult butterfly.
When you purchase plants from nurseries and garden centers, sit them outside away from your butterfly garden to give any pesticides and other chemicals a chance to dissipate. This goes for “organic” plant centers, too. (Sorry, I’m a skeptic.)
You can also purchase butterfly houses to try and encourage butterflies to stay in your yard. These are usually wooden houses similar to bird boxes but with narrow slits that keep birds out. To purchase butterfly houses click here.