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Starting a Butterfly Garden


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A presentation with photos sharing how to start a butterfly garden. Given to a local gardening group in Virginia in April, 2013. (Gardening is my and writing, my business!)

Published in: Self Improvement, Sports
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Starting a Butterfly Garden

  1. 1. Starting a ButterflyGardenJeanne Grunert
  2. 2. What Is a ButterflyGarden?  Garden planted to attract butterflies (and moths)  Includes plants for shelter, nectar and host  Can be part of a complete backyard wildlife habit that includes plants to attract birds and other wildlife
  3. 3. Why Create a ButterflyGarden?  Beauty and enjoyment  Great gardening activity for children  Diminishing natural habitats for butterflies and moths  Most plants are low maintenance, drought tolerant, beautiful  Attracts pollinators
  4. 4. Butterfly Garden Design &Care  Full sun to part shade  Garden size  Container butterfly garden  Small garden  Large garden  Include screening plants or site near something that keeps wind from butterflies  Choose perennial plants that bloom spring through fall for continuous color; include annuals  Group plants together by color; masses of the same color or tone tends to attract more butterflies  Native plants support local butterfly species  Avoid use of pesticides  Place garden near the home (or include a bench in the design) so you can enjoy the butterflies!
  5. 5. Water Sources  “Mud Puddles” - Water sources are optional, but probably appreciated by butterflies  Many butterflies like to drink from salty mud puddles. You can see them on damp rocks, gravel or sand. Create a mud puddle by digging a shallow depression and lining it gravel.  Commercial “butterfly puddle” bowls feature a shallow cement bowl with pebbles – just add water.  You can also use an old bird bath top if the base breaks. A birdbath is fine, but the birds will use it more than the butterflies.
  6. 6. Plants for the Garden  Shelter  Butterflies dislike high winds and seek shelter on windy days. Including plants for shelter such as Buddleia (butterfly bush) provides both food and shelter.  Nectar  Nectar producing plants are typically flowering perennials and annuals  Native plants are especially beneficial  Host plants  Provide food for larvae
  7. 7. Host Plants  Each butterfly species seeks a specific host plant  Include a variety to benefit more butterflies  Common host (larvae) plants include:  Parsley (Eastern Black Swallowtail)  Violets (Great Spangled Fritillary  Dogwoods, virburnum (Spring Azure)  Milkweed (also a nectar plant) (Monarch)  Nettles (Comma, Red Admiral)  Dill, mint
  8. 8. Shelter and Nectar Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) Prolific seeder (deadhead if you don’t want seeds) Easy care, cut back in fall 10-15 feet tall White, lavender, purple, dark purple, bicolor
  9. 9. Nectar Plants: Purple andBlue Flowers Nepeta (Cat Mint) and Salvia “May Night” Lavender Hidcote Centaurea cyanus (Cornflower, Bachelor’s Buttons) Phlox subulata
  10. 10. Nectar Plants: Orange andYellow Coreopsis and marigolds (above) Lantana (above right) Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan) Gaillardia
  11. 11. Nectar Plants: Pink
  12. 12. Examples of OtherButterfly Garden Plants  New England Aster  Coreopsis major  Bee Balm (Monarda  Joe Pye Weed didyma) (Eupatorium maculatum)  Black-eyed Susan  Maximillian’s Sunflowers (Rudbeckia hirta ) (Helianthus maximilianii )  Cardinal Flower (Lobelia  Phlox (Phlox subulata) cardinalis )  Purple Coneflower  Butterfly weed (Echinacea purpurea ) (Asclepius tuberosa )  Common violet  Virginia Bluebell  Yarrow  Daylilies
  13. 13. A Simple Plan Butterfly Perennials - Butterfly Bush Salvia, daylilies, Bush nepeta Zinnia Zinnia Annual border – sweet alyssum, marigolds, petunias
  14. 14. My Butterfly Garden Started 2008 Sloping ground,, highly acidic soil, clay, full sun to part shade We used a “kit” of plants from a nursery catalog. Came with starter plants and a garden plan. Sort of like paint by numbers gardening. Major plants: •Achillea •Butterfly bush •Cardinal flower •Catmint •Columbine •Lantana •Marigolds •Monarda •Salvia •Zinnias
  15. 15. For More Information  Virginia Cooperative Extension – Wildlife Habitats: 070/426-070.html  Colorado Extension – Attracting Butterflies to the Garden: .html  Ohio Cooperative Extension – Butterfly Gardens (with extensive plant list):
  16. 16. Credits and Copyright  Presentation and all photographs were created by Jeanne Grunert.  Copyright © 2013 by Jeanne Grunert.  Shared under the following terms:  No commercial use  No modifications permitted  Please credit Jeanne Grunert and link to:  License details:  Please contact me for any questions or other permission requests. I can be reached by email at
  17. 17. Thank you!My Gardening Blog –