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Attract Butterflies

butterflies

A garden that attracts butterflies all year long is full of surprises because it is constantly changing. With a little bit of planning you can make your landscape irresistible to these flying flowers while creating a colorful environment that is pleasing to your family as well.

Planning Suggestions

Use of Insecticides, Pesticides & Herbicides

It is important to stress that if you are trying to entice butterflies (as well as hummingbirds and other insect-eating birds and bats) to your yard, you will need to give up the use of insecticides / pesticides and many herbicides. Most of these products are broad spectrum, and will kill unwanted insect pests as well as those you are trying to attract. Herbicides may kill the host plants that butterflies use to lay their eggs. That does not mean that you have to let the unwanted insects take over. There are many ways of controlling unwanted insects such as insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, and biological controls (lady bugs, lacewings, and praying mantis) that can be used. There are also the tried and true gardening methods of picking off unwanted insects by hand and disposing of them as well as weeding out unwanted plants by hand.

Sun & Shelter

The friendly staff at Alsip Home & Nursery can help you make your yard an inviting place for butterflies. Butterflies are attracted to broad sunlit areas. They enjoy basking in the sun while feeding. The warmth of the sun keeps their body temperature high and allows them to stay active. Simple boulders or flat cut‐stone in sunlit areas provide good resting places. A stone wall offers natural shelter from the weather. Butterflies also need shelter from wind and weather which can easily be provided with taller shrubs and trees.

Recommended Plants

Now it’s time to add the plants. Remember, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask an Alsip Home & Nursery professional. A progressive garden with plants maturing and setting seeds at different times throughout the season increases your chance of success. Most butterflies are attracted to colors in shades of pink, red purple, yellow, and orange. Arrange your plantings in large masses of the same type and color of plant rather than a mix of color. Choose flower types that produce large flat flower heads, or plants that make clusters of smaller bell shaped or tube shaped flowers. Also, keep in mind that butterflies are not only looking for nectar plants, but host plants on which to lay their eggs.

The following plants are an easy way to get your butterfly garden started. They are all easy to plant and can be purchased at Alsip Home & Nursery. Plant in pattern of your choice.

Annuals

Perennials

Geranium
Dahlia
Impatiens
Marigold
Nasturtium
Zinnias
Milkweed
Achillea (Yarrow)
Ageratum
Allium
Antirrhinum (Snapdragon)
Aster
Clethra (Summersweet)
Coreopsis
Daphne
Delphinium
Echinacea (Coneflower)
Forsythia
Fothergilla
Hemerocallis (Daylily)
Leucanthemum (Shasta Daisy)
Liatris (Gayfeather)
Goldenrod
Lilac
Monarda (Bee Balm)
Nepeta (Catmint)
Rose
Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan)
Salvia
Sedum
Some Annuals that Attract Butterflies
Some Shrubs that Attract Butterflies
Spirea
Verbena
Viburnum
Violas
Weigela

Perennial Shrubs

Trees

Clethra (Summersweet)
Daphne
Forsythia
Fothergilla
Lilac
Rhododendron
Rose
Spirea
Viburnum
Weigela

Amelanchier (Serviceberry)
Catalpa
Cornus (Dogwood)
Cercis (Redbud)
Cherry
Crabapple
Hawthorne

Common Butterflies and their Larval Plants

  • Monarch Butterfly ‐ Milkweed, Ascelpias (AKA Butterfly Flower)
  • Red Admiral ‐ Lamium
  • Spring Aure ‐ Dogwood; Viburnums; Spirea
  • Tiger Swallowtail ‐ Willow; Cherry; Linden; Birch leaves
  • Painted Lady ‐ Pearly Everlasting Daisy; Hollyhock
  • Buckeye ‐ Snapdragon; Plantain; Stonecrop
  • White‐lined Sphinx ‐ Virginia Creeper; Grape
  • Hummingbird Clearwing ‐ Viburnum; Hawthorn; Honeysuckle
  • Fritillary ‐ Violets

 

Here’s a gallery of some of our favorite perennials from around the nursery yard! (They’re the butterflies’ favorites too!)

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