Sunday, May 2, 2010

Do Butterflies Find a Welcome in Your Garden?

Bright blossoms are welcoming, especially if they face an open space, like lantana edging a lawn. Butterflies look for nectar and a place to lay eggs, which is why I have a Paw Paw Asimina parviflora behind an expanse of lantana to welcome Zebra swallowtails.

Zebra Swallowtail nectaring on yellow weeds.
                                                   Sulphurs puddling on a damp spot on the ground.


The Butterfly Lady encourages her visiting toddler grandson to tinkle in the sandy puddling space she provides for male butterflies. They are seeking mineral salts, which urine provides just enough.
Do you have one of those pretty butterfly houses sometimes seen at craft fairs? I've never seen a butterfly in one. They usually seek shelter from wind and rain somewhere like behind some bark or underneath a leaf, which I have seen.



Butterflies were here when Azaleas bloomed.
I provided dianthus and other nectar-laden goodies following the end of Azalea time but most disappeared all the same. Our butterflies are programmed for making appearances when nectar is most bountiful, disappearing until the next wave of blossoms appear in nature. Lantana is about to bloom. I noticed passion vine plants among the emerging lantanas last week. Meanwhile I'm seeing an occasional visitor, like the American Painted Lady I saw yesterday.

If you want to visit a butterfly expert's blog, go see Randy and Meg's Garden Paradise. On Randy's sidebar are links to Randy's Butterfly Pages, chock full of important butterfly information.

A Poll on my Sidebar has to do with what Butterflies visit in gardens. Please check the plants and other items that butterflies may find in your garden. What favorite plants and activities of butterflies did I leave off?

17 comments:

  1. I've found that parsley and parsnips are 2 goodies that Mother Swallowtails will use to lay eggs. (Though I think the swallowtails that frequent my gardens are a different kind than yours - yellow/black stripes?) Love the plant list in your poll. It's given me a few more ideas.

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  2. Interesting to me, I have six of the plants you list in my South African garden.

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  3. Kate I'm guessing your black and yellow swallowtail is a Western Tiger.

    Diana, interesting to me too that you have six of the listed plants, which is just a random sampling. Looking online at South African butterflies, the only one I noticed that is found both here and there is the Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui. There may be more. We have many in the same Genus with differing species.

    I have trouble remembering their common names and have to look up all the latin names.

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  4. Our weather has been strange--hot temps, cold temps (frost a few days ago), and no rain. I'm seeing few butterflies right now. I have so many plants for them, including hosting for BSTs and Monarchs.

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  5. I have a dozen of the plants you listed on the sidebar. I love to watch butterflies! Black swallowtail butterflies also use rue as a host plant in my garden.

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  6. NeilJean,

    Thanks for the link to our blog. We have all but porterweed and tithonia in our garden. Tithonia I an the great killer of it. Shame Zebra Swallowtails are found a few miles from here, but never in our garden.

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  7. It's that time of year. They showed up for Azaleas, same as always. I used to think it was because I had few flowers that bloomed in this gap. Now I have flowers and still no butterflies. A new brood will hatch out soon and we will welcome them. I saw a sulphur this afternoon and a Painted Lady yesterday. I look forward to more.

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  8. Butterflies are certainly welcome in my garden! I've only seen a few so far, but I don't have many blooms yet that they enjoy. By far, their favorite seems to be the coneflowers, and come July I should have lots of visitors. Last year was the first time I planted fennel, dill, and parsley, and the grandkids and I had a great time seeing all the caterpillars. I'd never heard of the "puddling" before--hmmm, I have a little grandson just starting potty training; I may have to suggest this to him:)

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  9. I am beginning to see a few butterflies, the Spicebush Swallowtail, and the Tiger Swallowtail once. We have had fewer butterflies over the last few years. I don't know why. I hope we have lots this year. I had a tiny one with a red spot on the Amur Maple tree blooms.

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  10. Hello Nell-Jean and thanks for this fabulous post on butterflies! I only have a couple of the plants you list for nectar, but the butterflies here in my part of Aus seem to like Buddleia nectar as much as they do anywhere else in the world! I am just learning about the larval food plants my local butterflies like (including our own Painted Lady - Vanessa kershawi) and am gradually planting more local plants for them. It is a project I am really enjoying and I'm off to have a look at that link!

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  11. Great post. Thanks for the tips.I am trying to plant more butterfly plants this yr with wintersowing.I have detailed some of my progress on my blog.

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  12. Yes, yes and yes! Love Butterflies!

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  13. I came to your blog through Sandy at Peopnies & Magnolias. I'm so glad I did! For the last two year I've been consentrating my garden to attract birds. What I found is that a lot of butterflies like to visit, too! Now, I want to attract them, too, and planted my first official butterfly plant yesterday. I'm so excited!
    Patricia :o)

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  14. Oh, I have 10 that my kids are raising inside a special butterfly enclosure. We will be releasing them soon :-)

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  15. The butterflies are back in my garden, too. I love your poll. Interesting to see how many provide a puddling area. Great!

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  16. I saw a Red Admiral fluttering about a few days ago. No camera with me, of course. They have a territorial behavior and so I'm hoping to see it again in the same area.

    That's all little boys need -- another excuse to tinkle outside:)

    Nice post, as usual.

    donna

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  17. I have 6 of the plants in your list here. In addition to this, butterflies like to visit my hibiscus and cuphea. They like to lay eggs on the vinca, ixora and citrus leaves. Even the wild flowers by the roadside attract butterflies, but tiny ones.

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I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.



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