Eco Friendly Butterfly Garden
Now who wouldn’t want an Eco Friendly Butterfly Garden? Beautiful butterflies fluttering around the yard are an amazing the site to see. Butterflies bring joy and happiness to everyone near, young and old alike.
Creating a butterfly garden includes a bit of planning. You want to attract, preserve and encourage the butterfly populace to visit. To have a stunning Eco friendly butterfly garden full of butterflies, you need to:
- Provide nectar producing plants (food for butterflies).
- Choose a sunny location. Butterflies require at least 6 hours of sun daily.
- Avoid planting in windy locations. Butterflies need shelter from the wind.
- Buy flowers that have multiple florets (meaning they have plenty of nectar).
- Supply caterpillar host plants. Caterpillars have their own food requirements.
- Know that butterfly houses are just garden ornaments; butterflies won’t take shelter in them.
- Plant a variety of blooms for spring, summer and fall (particularly mid to late summer blooms).
- Provide a water source like a shallow dish filled with wet sand amid your flowers. Deep water sources like birdbaths are too deep. Butterflies usually will not risk drinking from them.
- Leave the larvae alone. Caterpillar metamorphosis is a miracle and they need to complete the cycle without being disturbed.
Declining Butterfly Population
The population of Monarchs has declined by 80-90% in the last year! World Wildlife Fund feels that climate conditions and agricultural practices are to blame, especially the use of pesticides that kill milkweed (the Monarchs’ main food source). Last year’s unfavorable climatic conditions (a hot spring followed by the drought) also added to the decline.
One big factor in the loss of habitat caused by Round-up ready soybeans and corn (GMO plants). This agricultural practice eliminates the milkweeds. Another contributing factor includes fervent management of roadside marshes from the extreme use of herbicides. For further information: Monarch Butterfly Numbers Drop to New Lows
The population of grassland butterflies is also a big concern.
However, there are Eco friendly steps you can take when planning a butterfly garden:
- Buy only organic and non-GMO plants and seeds
- Grow garden plants with flowers that attract different types of butterflies
- Never use pesticides on blooming plants. Better yet, don’t use them at all
Planting a Butterfly Garden
The more suitable flowering plants you have in your butterfly garden, the better. You should always aim for at least two butterfly friendly plants for each flowering period. Preferably, plant two butterfly friendly plants for spring, early summer and fall or late summer. However, the majority of butterflies are most active in mid to late summer. That is why Butterfly Weed and the Butterfly Bush are popular for butterfly gardens.
Quick Note: It is recommended that you plant native species in your area instead of exotic species.
Here is a small list of plants for your butterfly garden:
Spring flowers: Bluebell, Chives, Common Milkweed, Goat’s Beard, PawPaw (Asiminia triloba), Moss Phlox, Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Violets, Wallflower, Wild Blue Phlox, Wild Columbine, Wild Geranium and Wild Lupine
Summer flowers: Amaranth, Anise Hyssop, Bee Balm, Butterfly Bush, Coreopsis, Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata), Delphiniums, Fennel, Greater Coreopsis, Lantana, Linaria, Marigold, Mustard Greens, Oregano, Ox-eye Sunflower, Pearly Everlasting, Passionflower, Pentas, Red Clover, Royal Catchfly (Silene regia), Salvia, Spider Milkweed, Tansy, Verbena, Wild Bergamot, White Clover and Zennia
Late summer/fall flowers: Aster, Black-eyed Susan, Boneset, Butterfly Weed, Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Common Boneset, Goldenrod, Iron Weed, Jewelweed, Joe Pye Weed, Mexican Sunflower, Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Rough Blazing Star (Liatris aspera) and Yarrow
Here is a list of good caterpillar host plants:
Aster, Black Cherry, Birch, Burdock, Cassia, Clover, Daisy, Dill, Everlasting, Fennel, Hollyhock (Mallow), Milkweed, Mustard, Nettle, Parsley, Passion Vine, Peas, Pawpaw, Plantain, Queen Ann’s Lace, Rock Cress, Snapdragon, Vetch, Violet and Willow.
Get the latest butterfly news and discover the numerous varieties of butterflies.
Planning Your Eco Friendly Butterfly Garden
Finding organic seed can sometimes be a challenge. Here are a few suggestions to help you create the ideal Eco friendly butterfly garden.
Botanical Interests: Has over 500 varieties of vegetable seeds, flower seeds and herb seeds. They have a large selection of organic seeds, heirloom seeds and more. They even have a Butterfly Banquet Seed Collection and another assortment of Butterfly Flower Organic Seeds
And Yes, So Much More
Heirloom Organics: The perfect source for heirloom flower seeds, heirloom herb seeds and heirloom vegetable seeds.
They also have organic seed, non-hybrid seed and an Online Organic Growing Guide.
Heirloom Organics NON-GMO Tea Seed Pack – 21 Varieties Non-Hybrid Herbal Tea Seeds – Hermetically Sealed for Long Term Storage. Includes 21 herbal tea varieties: Anise Hyssop, Bergamot and Echinacea plus many more
Amazon: Yes, Amazon is a fantastic place to find organic seed for your butterfly garden. Here is just a small intro:
Featured picture: MTSOfan via photopin cc
Butterfly picture by John Brian Silverio: Island Capture (aka Silverph or psilver) via photopin cc
Butterflies on Echinacea: lars hammar via photopin cc
Grey butterfly: MTSOfan via photopin cc
Brown butterfly and pink flowers: foxtail_1 via photopin cc
Iridescent butterfly: labbradolci (Save the Monarchs, Plant Milkweed)) via photopin cc