In the last entry, I discussed host plants and how they attract and keep butterflies in the garden (read previous entry to learn more). Nectar plants also play a key role in enticing butterflies to flutter throughout the garden. Native plants are especially attractive to insects. Adult butterflies love red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple blossoms. Both annuals and perennials should be distributed throughout the garden. Choose plants that bloom throughout the growing season. Plants blooming mid- to late summer are especially beneficial since this is the period when butterflies are most active.
The Butterfly Pea plant is a flowering vine that is on my “favorites list.” Besides being attractive for butterflies and bees, it is also a host plant for the long-tailed skipper and has edible flowers. While staying in the jungles of Costa Rica, I learned from friends that this flower is indeed edible as you can see in the salad bowl below. It also has hibiscus leaves as well. Remember, always identify a plant before sticking it in your mouth!
Echinacea purpurea is both a nectar plant and a herb. It is a herb that boosts immunity therefore reducing the duration of a cold. This Gray Hairstreak finds Echinacea to be a perfect perch.
Flowers rich in nectar and pollen also attract bees. Colorful flowers are attractive to bees and will keep them coming back for more! If you have a vegetable garden, try intercropping with flowers. This will add color, beauty, and pollinators to your garden. This is exactly what every garden needs for good produce and seed production.
Two years ago, I raised a bunch of Oleander moths for fun. They are so beautiful compared to other bland moths! This moth is resting on a Porter weed. This flowering bush attracts all sorts of insects and even hummingbirds.
I love Bumble bees! Their fuzzy bodies and large size make them fascinating to me. I can’t help sticking my nose right up to bees to watch them do what they do best. I haven’t got stung yet! The wasps in my garden are more vicious and will eat any butterfly caterpillar they can find. My book, http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/elizabethmann shows how to make a nursery for raising and protecting caterpillars. It also shows my butterfly pavilion and portable garden box.
Cassia trees are host plants for the Cloudless Sulphur butterflies. When in bloom, they are completely covered in yellow blossoms.
Whether big or small, every butterfly garden provides a home for butterflies, insects, and other small garden friends. Planting a diversity of plants along with native plants does make a difference. If everyone does a little, it adds up to a lot.
I’m leaving for Kentucky tomorrow to visit my grandparents! I’ll be gone for 17 days. I will share my many adventures when I return. Everyone, enjoy the rest of your summer!