Butterflies are barely there - fluttering in and out of our line of vision -- but we love watching them flit around our gardens! Attracting them not only brings enjoyment, but they are good for our gardens. While butterflies are not as efficient pollinators as bees they do their part.
Listed below are a variety of plants that will bring butterflies in their many life stages to your garden:
Perennials: Allium, Baby's Breath, Baptisia (False Indigo), Bee Balm, Blanket Flower, Bleeding Heart, Bugleweed, Catmint, Chelone, Chrysanthemum, Coreopsis, Daylily, Delphinium, Echinacea, Forget Me Not, Geranium (Cranesbill), Goldenrod, Heliopsis (False Sunflower), Hibiscus, Hollyhock, Jacob's Ladder, Joe-Pye Weed, Lavender, Liatris, Lobelia (Cardinal Flower), Lupine, Mint, Penstemon, Phlox, Bergenia, Rudbeckia or Black Eyed Susan, Russian Sage, Salvia, Sedum (Stonecrop), Sisyrinchium (Blue-eyed Grass), Snakeroot, Sneezeweed, Viola and Yarrow.
Shrubs and Vines: Azalea, Blueberry, Butterfly Bush, Clethra (Sweetshrub), Dogwood, Elderberry, Honeysuckle, Hydrangea, Lilac, Ninebark, Potentilla, Spirea, St. John Wort and Viburnum.
Annuals: Ageratum, Alyssum, Catnip, Cosmos, Dahlia, Heliotrope, Lantana, Marigold, Nasturtiums, Pansy, Pentas, Petunia, Salvia (Red and Blue), Snapdragon, Sunflower, Verbena and Zinnia.
Vegetables and Herbs: Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Dill, Fennel, Oregano, Pineapple Sage and Rock Cress.
Butterflies are insects.
A butterfly’s lifecycle is made up of four parts, egg, larva (caterpillars), pupa (chrysalis) and adult.
Butterflies attach their eggs to leaves with a special glue.
Most caterpillars are plant eaters (herbivores).
Fully grown caterpillars attach themselves to a suitable twig or leaf before shedding their outside layer of skin to reveal a hard skin underneath known as a chrysalis.
An adult butterfly will eventually emerge from the chrysalis where it will wait a few hours for its wings to fill with blood and dry, before flying for the first time.
Butterflies can live in the adult stage from anywhere between a week and a year, depending on the species.
Butterflies have four wings.
Butterflies often have brightly colored wings with unique patterns made up of tiny scales.
Most butterflies feed on nectar from flowers.
Butterflies have taste receptors on their feet.
Scientists estimate that there are between 15000 and 20000 different species of butterfly. About 725 species have been found in North American north of Mexico, with approximately 575 of these occurring regularly in the lower 48 states of the United States, and about 275 species occurring regularly in Canada.
Monarch butterflies are known for their long migration. Every year monarch butterflies will travel a great distance (sometimes over 2500 miles), females will lay eggs and a new generation of monarchs will travel back, completing the cycle.
A group of butterflies is sometimes called a flutter.
Their eyes are made of 6,000 lenses and can see ultraviolet light.
Many adult butterflies never excrete waste – they use up all they eat for energy.