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You need to research which butterfly attracting plants grow in your area. There are web sites that list plants, http://www.highcountrygardens.com on line catalog even has little icons designating which of their plants are suitable for butterflies in the Western US.
Remember to have butterflies, you will first have caterpillars which eat only certain plants. Then you need different plants for the adults to sip nectar.
Plant examples include: flowering dogwoods, viburnums, cottonwoods, oaks, fennel, carrots, celery, thistle, cosmos, zinnias, of course Butterflybush and Butterflyweed (2 different plants), milkweed, hollyhock, thistles, goldenrod, etc.
So you need to do some reading up on butterfly gardening, especially for your area of the country.
Pick out plants with an orange color when in flower. Many states have “extension services” in the county government listings. The agents have you select publications on gardens and agriculture subjects. They are usually $1 or $2 apiece. Our state/county agent has a list of plants that attract butterflies. Native/original plants to your area , coming up every year, are great.
You should plant a mix of nectar plants and host plants that the caterpillars will live on before they become butterflies.
Visit our website for more butterfly gardening ideas at- http://www.gardening-at-the-crossroads.com/butterfly-gardening.html
Good Luck and Happy Gardening from Cathy and Neal!
I’d have honeysuckles – Lonicera and butterfly bushes – buddleia, both of which provide good nectar sources for them to eat from, whilst adults. Sedum spectabile will also add later season flowers, which they love too.
For caterpillars, create a wildflower area, where you could even allow some wild plants to grow, such as stinging nettles, which some love to grow and eat on, as caterpillars. Some plants also like plants from the cabbage family, including the white butterflies – if you grow them to eat yourself, you’d get nibbled leaves. Nasturtiums are loved too, and have really pretty flowers, and don’t need any feeding at all – they loathe it and flower less, so are great for a natural garden. It’s useful to know where you live, so that you pick out plants for locally natural butterflies.
Lupins are good too, as well as Rue – Ruta Graveolens. My hardy hibiscus are loved by butterflies: unless you’re somewhere semi-tropical, the houseplant type hibiscus will die in winter though!
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