Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden

August is Butterfly month! Butterflies, as with all other pollinators, are important to the health of any garden and farm. By planting specific plants in your garden or on your farm, not only will you be helping the butterflies, but you will also be able to enjoy these beautiful jewel-like creatures as they flit and fly.

To encourage your local butterfly species, you can plant plants for both caterpillars and adult butterflies. Caterpillars need “host plants” that they can attach their chrysalis to, so they can develop into butterflies. According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, “Depending upon the species, this haven could be a bush, tall grass, or piles of leaves or sticks. If you leave these features in your yard, you will encourage butterflies to stay around and drink the nectar you provide.” These host plants include: Bleeding heart (Dicentra), Lupines (Lupinus), Milkweed (Asclepias) and even Aspen/Poplar (Populus) trees.

Adult butterflies need nectar-producing plants as a food supply. Some plants that will both attract and feed butterflies are: Aster (Aster), Milkweed (Asclepias), Bee balm (Monarda), Purple coneflower (Echinacea), and Sunflowers (Helianthus).
For more plants that will attract and support butterfly species, check out the Xerces Society’s Butterfly Gardening Fact Sheet.
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