Buckminster Fuller once said “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” We should always remember that what we find ugly, can turn into something we find beautiful. Surrounding yourself with those little whips of magic we call butter flies can be easier than you think.
Like many other things, like many of us, the butterfly is looking for food. You can attract an incalculable amount by knowing what they want, knowing which flower will bring them to you yard, for you to enjoy the lazy and fancy free way they fly.
Asclepias, also called Butterfly Milkweed, Butterfly Weed or Pleurisy Root is a perennial that grows from one to three feet and spread from one to two feet. It prefers full sun and blooms from late summer to early fall. It is drought tolerant and can suffer some abuse.
Buddleja davidii is a four to 6 feet tall shrub that spreads over six to eight feet. It prefers full sun and blooms many times during a season. It is drought tolerant and its flowers are very fragrant.
Eupatorium maculatum is a perennial that grows from six to eight feet tall and four to six feet wide. It will bloom in late summer and early fall.
Lantana camara is an annual, however, in tropical climates it can be a tender perennial. It grows from three to four feet tall and three to four feet wide.It prefers full sun and blooms many times during a season.
Anethum graveolens is an annual herb. It grows from one to two feet tall and one to two feet wide. It prefers full sun and blooms during mid summer.
These plants also have the added bonus to attract hummingbirds. It should also be noted that some of these plants can act as a host for butterfly larvae. While those may eat at the leaves and reduce the beauty of the foliage, keep in mind that leaving them where they are will insure many more butterflies flying around next year.
For some reason, it would seem that butterflies, specially males, enjoy congregating on mud puddles. It’s easy to create this type of situation. Try digging a hole and burying a bucket. Fill it with rocks and sand and add liquid such has juice or water. You can help the process by trowing in rotting fruits.
Things to keep in mind:
Different butterflies are attracted to different colors. Try growing different kind of flowers that show off many different kind of color.
Try growing flowers and shrubs in the same area. Butterflies are attracted to an ample supply of pollen and will return to it eagerly.
As mentioned above, many of these flowers can host caterpillars. However, if they become a problem, you should avoid chemicals and remove them by hand.
Please keep in mind that these plants are toxic (to animals and humans) if ingested, so you should be careful to not plant them near the dog pen.