Butterfly Attractants

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"Fallen flower I see
Returning to its branch
Ah! a butterfly
"

Arikida Moritake Shinto, priest 1473-1549


Danger lurks. Birds and predatory insects feast upon the butterfly in most stages of  growth. Diseases, lack of suitable food sources and breeding areas, even migratory mishaps take their toll on butterfly populations. From egg to adult, their jouney is uncertain and absolutely amazing.  

The butterfly host plants may seem totally without ornamental charm to our human sensibilities but the female butterfly finds in them the perect nursery. She will lay her eggs on  leaves  carefully chosen to provide nourishment  for the ravenous young larvae who, after hatching, will begin a step by step transformation into adulthood, behold the butterfly.

Fragrance and solid stands of flower color will attract butterflies to the flower nectar. Also, they will seek sunny garden areas to quickly warm their wing muscles after a cool night.     

Choose your plants carefully and butterflies will visit your garden spot often to sip nectar, socialize, and insure the next generation.  Many of their habitats have already been lost to urban "progress". Whether large or small, any garden  can include elements necessary to support the butterfly and also other important garden pollinators. 
  
   

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GARDEN PHLOX
(Phlox paniculata)

Blooms of white, pink, red, purple, and bicolors from late June to September, a staple of the summer garden and a nectar source for many insects.   
Height 12" to 48".
Full sun to part shade. 
Maintain good air circulation.                   
BUTTERFLY BUSH 
(Buddleia)

Blooms of white, pink, fuchsia, lavender, and purple from late June to September. Feeds many migrators.      
Height 3' to 8', a size bush to fit any garden. 
Full sun.
Prune in Spring. 
JOE PYE WEED
(Eupatorium)

Blooms white, pink, or lavender in late Summer and early Fall.                
Height 2' to 7'.        
Full sun to part shade. 
A member of this genus is a medicinal herb called Boneset. 
Deer resistant.
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BUTTERFLY WEED
(Asclepius)

Blooms can be pink, white, yellow or orange.  They bloom in July and August. The leaves are food for the larvae (the caterpillars) which, in turn, become the next generation of butterfly adults.     
Height 2' to 5'.
Full sun.
Deer resistant.
MEXICAN SUNFLOWER     
(Tithonia)                    

Blooms are orange or yellow late July to September. It is an annual in our zone.  Height 40" to 60".
Likes full sun to filtered sun.
Will tolerate dry soil, Prefers it moist but well drained.
LANTANA                   (Lantana)   


Annuals  in our zone, blooming all summer. Flowers composed of many florets.  Each flower may contain as many as three color combinations including yellows, reds, golds, oranges, and pinks.  
Height 12" to 36".
Plant in full sun.
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ASTER  
(Aster)


Blooms in pink, red, purple, and white some in summer and many in late Summer and Fall.
Height 18" to 60".    
Grow in average slightly alkaline soil and like the butterflies, they prefer full sun.
PERENNIAL SUNFLOWER  
(Helianthus)

Blooms of lemon yellow to golden yellow in late Summer and Fall. 
A good late nectar source for butterflies, also, seeds and pollen for birds and bees.
Height 18" to 72".
Full sun.
VIOLET   
(Viola)       

Blooms are yellow, purple, blue, pink, and white from April to June. Some are very fragrant.      Height 4" to 10".
Part shade to shade.
The Fritillary larvae hatch from their eggs in Fall and hibernate in leaf litter waiting until the violet leaves emerge in the Spring.