Gardening to Attract Butterflies
Not only are butterflies one of the many of the pollinators, but they are delicate and beautiful to watch. Butterflies are attracted to diverse areas filled with nectar-rich flowers and food for the young larvae. Most of the plants in the following list provide nectar for butterflies and moths. The plants that serve as breeding sites and food for larvae are known as host plants.
Decline of the Monarch Over the past ten years, the Monarch population has been notably declining. There are many things that have contributed to this decline. Deforestation in Mexico, recent bouts of severe weather, loss of habitat in the summer breeding grounds, and the growth of herbicide-based agriculture destroying crucial milkweed flora in the Midwest. We can’t easily control the deforestation in Mexico or severe weather, but we can help provide nectar, water, shelter and host plants for these wonderful creatures.
Plan ahead, and try to grow flowers to attract butterflies from the first spring bloom until the last flower succumbs to frost. Butterflies are attracted to plants growing in clusters. Shelter such as tall shrubs or flowers and fences help to break the wind makes their journey easier.
You don’t need a large garden to make a difference. Even a few plants grown in a container can make a difference.
Another way you can help is to create a Monach Waystation. By creating and maintaining a Monarch Waystation you are contributing to monarch conservation, an effort that will help assure the preservation of the species and the continuation of the spectacular monarch migration. There is some great information and downloads available on the Monarch Watch Website. For more information, click here.
Other great butterflies common in our region to watch for are: