Butterfly Gardening

Gulf fritillaryFew outdoor activities are more rewarding and easily available than attracting butterflies to a well-designed garden. Creating a butterfly garden can be as simple as planting a windowsill box or as complex as landscaping many acres. To be successful in any situation, however, requires the correct choice of plants.

The total butterfly garden takes into account the food preferences of both adult butterflies and their caterpillars. Many butterfly species will drink nectar from a variety of flowering plants, but their caterpillars often are greatly limited in the number of plants on which they can feed. It is not necessary to plant larval food plants to attract butterflies, but adults tend to stay fairly close to the areas where their Gulf fritillary caterpillarlarval food plants can be found.

All of this requires planning. There are a few basic rules to follow. You can be as creative as you wish, but you must start with a plan that considers the requirements of the butterflies you wish to attract and the plants you will use to lure them.

Butterfly gardening is an exacting (not difficult) pursuit and must be based on butterfly preferences, not human ones. Luckily, butterfly and human favorites are most compatible.

Publications available for reference to Butterfly Gardening can be obtained by visiting the Butterfly web page of the EDIS website.

Additional Resources