Everyone loves butterflies. Kind of like puppies, kittens or baby chicks- when you see them, it makes you go ‘awww.’
These are the ballerinas of the insect world, showing grace with every movement, fluttering and floating effortlessly about. Here in Sonoma County we are visited by many different types, and you can encourage them to visit your garden by planting certain flowers.
Young larvae will need food plants, while adults will go for nectar. A shallow dish or other regular water source is also part of the plan, as they drink water just like the rest of us. Understand that pesticides are a no-no if you want these beauties to keep coming around.
Although, ideally, a thriving butterfly garden is somewhat overgrown (in order to sustain a working habitat), you can successfully encourage them to visit your tidy flower beds, as long as there are plenty of worthy blooms to check out. Here are a few candidates:
These are a few of the plants that will be eaten by caterpillars, or larvae, who will turn into glorious adults:
Bleeding Hearts- a lilting perennial that blooms in late winter early spring.
Nasturtium- a soft looking, low growing rambler with edible flowers
Linaria (toadflax)- sweet mini snapdragons
Sunflowers- we all know what those are!
Penstemon- soft spires of tubular bells; bloom continuously
Hollyhock- tall towers of open-faced flowers; love the sun
Foxglove- lush leaves and large bell-shaped flowers
Here’s a few selections that will provide plentiful nectar to mature butterflies:
Delphinium- fat, long cones of many long-lasting flowers. Showy!
Lavender- pleasantly pungent leaves and blooms. Low water, too
Honeysuckle- sweet-smelling vine for full sun or part shade
Lilac- clusters of late winter/spring flowers. Great cut flower
Coneflower (echinachea)- strong-stemmed daisies form prominent cones as they become spent
Sweet Pea- These potently fragrant vines bloom through the cool season
Butterfly Bush (buddleja)- honey-scented conical flower clusters
Lantana- round clusters of bright flowers. Can be a groundcover or an upright shrub
Flowering Maple- tropical looking, pendulous flowers that resemble hibiscus
Dianthus- sweetly scented, plentiful flowers
A lot of these plants are attractive to other pollinators, and hummingbirds, as well as being drought resistant, deer tolerant. A good many are suitable for cutting bouquets, so you can enjoy the flowers as much as your butterflies do. We stock all these plants and many more, and we’ll gladly help you design your garden and decide just what you need.