Saturday, January 24, 2015

How To Attract Butterflies To Your Garden

Joyful Butterflies - It's Easy To Get Their Attention

Butterflies are so beautiful and wonderful pollinators. It's always a surprise to see one appear and to watch their graceful flight is an absolute blessing. 

Watching butterflies is a spectator sport. It's mind blowing to know home many species of butterflies exist in the southwestern United States. It's mind blowing to see how many exist in North America, other regions of the Americas and the rest of the world. Why collect Hot Wheels when you can catch a glimpse of beautiful, delicate butterflies?

There are particular plants, colors and specific nectar found in flowering plants that will attract butterflies to you property all season long. If you live in southern California or the Southwestern United States, you can have butterflies all year long if you plant the right host plants. A host plant is a plant that butterflies will decide to lay their larvae. When the larvae eventually turns into a caterpillar, the host plant will then be their food. 

There are other factors in attracting butterflies besides colorful plants. Butterflies are just like people .. we all like specific locations, climates, colors and groups of people. The color of your plants, the topography of your property (are you desert, mountain, coastal, forest?), and the climate (is your property cool, hot or mild?) of your yard can also determine what sort of butterflies will be attracted to your property and if they’ll lay their larvae. Different species enjoy hot arid, others enjoy cold or mild climates.

We all know that the climate in the West and Southwestern U.S. can change daily or have extended periods of hot, dry weather. Extreme weather conditions usually need specific plants. Look for native plants or plants from similar climates or hardiness zones that will more than likely thrive. Native plants will definitely attract butterflies.

I’m in hardiness zone 9b and I’m able to add a colorful and hardy plants that are actually native to the Mediterranean. My climate is close to Turkey and Italy. My local nursery usually carries different varieties of butterfly plants from around the world. 

Nectar plants or hanging nectar bottles should be set in a sunny spot to encourage the butterflies to land on them. Most butterflies like to feed where it’s sunny and in an open space.

Gardens definitely need both host and nectar plants to attract lots of butterflies. Host plants are where butterflies lay their eggs and where caterpillars grow. Host plants will be eaten by the caterpillars, so put them in a location away from any of your fruiting plants as like tomatoes. That way, caterpillars will have a long way to travel if they decide to feed off of your heirloom tomato plants.

Nectar plants will be frequented by adult butterflies. Butterflies feed off of nectar plants. Nectar plants will keep those pretty butterflies from wondering into your neighbor’s yard. Growing colorful nectar plants to attract butterflies is like a kid in a candy store. The butterflies will be happy helpful pollinators. With consistent food growing everywhere they’ll lay their larvae and the cycle of butterfly life will soon begin in your garden.

If you find you're having problems with ants climbing your plants, grow in a pot and keep water in the saucer underneath the pot. This will keep ants from climbing on the plant and attacking the butterflies.

Butterflies find it really hard to fly when it's windy. If you live in a windy place, provide protection from the elements with tall hedge plants or walls of plants.

Most butterflies eat nectar from flowers, though some eat sap, dung, and other things. 

If you have color, flowering plants with nectar, host plants .. . you'll attract butterflies.
Nectar Plants
Host Plants

California Sister (Adelpha bredowii)
butterfly bush and overripe fruit
oaks, especially gambel oak

Red- spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)
butterfly bush, lantana, and milkweed
birches, aspen tree, and willow

Empress Leilia (Asterocampa leilia)
sap, dung, and occasionally flower nectar
hackberry and tree Celtis pallida in the elm family 

Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)
sap, rotting fruit, dung, carrion, and will take moisture at wet spots along roads and streams
hackberry and sugarberry
Coronis Fritillary (Speyeria coronis)
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
blazing stars, butterfly bush, hibiscus, lantana, zinnia, and salvia
passionvines and passion flowers
Mexican Fritillary (Euptoieta hegesia)
lantana, stachytarpheta, and turnera
passionvines, morning glories, and turnera
Mormon Fritillary (Speyeria mormonia)
Nokomis Fritillary (Speyeria nokomis)
viola nephrophylla

Northwestern Fritillary (Speyeria hesperis)
gaillardia, rabbitbrush, purple mints, and shrub cinquefoil

Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
butterfly bush and milkweed
passion flowers, woodland stonecrop, and violet
Zebra Heliconian (Heliconius charithonius)
lantana and shepherd's needle
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
butterfly bush, blazing stars, milkweed, lantana, salvia, blood flower, and coreopsis
milkweed and blood flower
Queen (Danaus gilippus)
climbing milkweed, butterfly bush, lantana, zinnia, and blood flower
milkweed and blood flower
American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)
aster, black-eyed Susan, flowering dogwood, dogbane, and goldenrod
hackberry and sugarberry

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
aster, milkweed, marigold, verbena, Joe-Pye weed, goldenrod, and dogbane
everlastings, daisy family, mallow, ironweed, sunflower

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
aster, coreopsis, swamp milkweed, and verbena
snapdragon, verbena, ruellia, swamp verbena, and plantain family
Dotted Checkerspot (Poladryas minuta)
nectar from flowers including yellow composites
beardtongues  in the figwort family

Bordered Patch (Chlosyne lacinia)
flower nectar
sunflowers, ragweed, crownbeard, and cockleburs 
Arctic Fritillary (Boloria chariclea)
goldenrods and asters
violets, scrub willows, and possibly blueberry
Callippe Fritillary (Speyeria callippe)
impatiens, passion vine, and hibiscus
Edwards' Fritillary (Speyeria edwardsii)
flower nectar
Freija Fritillary (Boloria freija)
flower nectar
dwarf bilberry and other plants in the heath family 

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
black-eyed Susan, milkweed, blood flower, passion flowers,and  tall verbena

Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene)
goldenrod, black-eyed Susans
Zerene Fritillary (Speyeria zerene)
Field Crescent (Phyciodes pulchellus)
flower nectar
Fulvia Checkerspot (Chlosyne fulvia)
flower nectar
Green Comma (Polygonia faunus)
dung and carrion
small pussy willow, black birch, alder, western azalea, and gooseberry
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
overripe fruit, tree sap, milkweed, dogbane, butterfly biush, and zinnia
elm, aspen, hackberry, birch, and willow

Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta)
dogbane, fleabane, and white clover

Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta)
dogbane, fleabane, and white clover

Painted Crescent (Phyciodes picta)
flower nectar
field bindweed, aster, and hairy tubetongue

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
aster, blazing stars, butterfly bush, buttonbush, milkweed, verbena, and zinnia
hollyhock, shasta daisy, sunflower, and mallow

Pale Crescent (Phyciodes pallida)
flower nectar

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
aster, swamp milkweed, verbena, and zinnia

Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon)
lippia and composites including shepherd's needle
dogfruit and mat grass in the verbena family

Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)
when rotting fruit, tree sap, dung, and carrion are unavailable do Question Marks visit flowers such as common milkweed, aster, and sweet pepperbush
American elm, red elm, hackberry, Japanese hop, nettles, and false nettle
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
aster, butterfly bush, milkweed, and shasta daisy
false nettle
Texas Crescent (Phyciodes texana)
flower nectar
honeysuckle, twinseed, and low plants of the acanthus family: ruellia, jacobina, beloperone, and siphonoglossa
Tiny Checkerspot (Dymasia dymas)
plants in Acanthus family
California Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis californica)
flower nectar
buckbrush and wild lilacs

Edith's Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha)
flower nectar
paintbrush, beardtongues, lousewort, owl's clover, Chinese houses, and plantain
Gorgone Checkerspot (Chlosyne gorgone)
nectar, especially from yellow flowers
sunflower and crosswort
Photo: USDA Agricultural Research
Gray Comma (Polygonia progne)
gooseberries and azalea
Photo: Walter Siegmund
Hoary Comma (Polygonia gracilis)
sweet everlasting
currants, gooseberries, western azalea, and mock azalea
Photo: Bill Bouton
Leanira Checkerspot (Thessalia leanira)
flower nectar
Indian paintbrush
Photo: D Gordon E Robertson
Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti)
lilac, goldenrod, and thistle
false nettle
Photo: Ingrid Taylar
Northern Checkerspot (Chlosyne palla)
flower nectar
goldenrod, rabbitbrush, and asters
Photo: Bill Bouton
Painted Crescent (Phyciodes picta)
flower nectar
field bindweed, aster, and hairy tubetongue
Photo: Walter Siegmund
Variable Checkerspot (Euphydryas chalcedona)
flower nectar
besseya, penstemon, Indian paintbrush, snowberry, honeysuckle, and plants from several other families including boraginaceae and rosaceae
Photo: Terry Spivey
West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella)
aster, yarrow, and goldenrod
hollyhock, mallow, false nettle
Photo: D Gordon E Robertson
Common Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala)
rotting fruit and flower nectar
purpletop and other grasses
Photo: David Bygott
Red Satyr (Megisto rubricata)
Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass
Photo: Walter Siegmund
Rocky Mountain Parnassian (Parnassius smintheus)
sedum and asteraceae family
Photo: Calibas
Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)
zinnia, aster, and butterfly bush
dill, fennel, parsley, and Queen Anne's lace
Photo: Mongo
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
butterfly bush, milkweed, red clover, and thistle
dill, fennel, parsley, and rue
Photo: Mongo
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
red Mexican bird of paradise,  lantana, azalea, bougainvilla, bouncing Bet, dame's rocket, goldenrod, Japanese honeysuckle, and swamp milkweed
trees and herbs of the citrus family: prickly ash, hop tree, and common rue
Photo: Steve L Martin
Indra Swallowtail (Papilio indra)
red Mexican bird of paradise, flower nectar
aromatic herbs of the parsley family growing among rocks
Photo: Alves Gaspar
Old World Swallowtail (Papilio machaon)
red Mexican bird of paradise, flower nectar
rarely plants in the parsley family and sagebrushes: Arctic wormwood and wild tarragon
Photo: Kaldari
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
red Mexican bird of paradise, butterfly bush, lantana, swamp milkweed, mexican sunflowers, verbena, and petunia
Photo: Jim Conrad
Pale Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon)
red Mexican bird of paradise, California buckeye, yerba santa, and wallflower
wild cherry, wild plum, coffee berry, ash
Photo: Jay Williams
Two- tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata)
red Mexican bird of paradise, lilac, swamp milkweed, and thistle
velvet ash, chokecherry, common hoptree, and flowering ash
Photo: Brocken Inaglory
Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)
red Mexican bird of paradise, lavender, zinnia
flowering ash, aspen tree, willow
Photo: Stephen Patrick
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
scarlet monkeyflower, impatiens, passion vine, lavender, verbena, aster, cosmos, and oregano
mustard (cabbage) family, nasturtium, spider flower
Photo: Bob Peterson
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
red Mexican bird of paradise, and flower nectar
senna, cassia, and desert senna
Photo: Anne Toal
Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole)
red Mexican bird of paradise, common dogweed, Labrador tea, asters, wild marigold, and rabbitbrush
daisy family, dogweed, and low-growing plants in the aster family: shepherd's needle, sneezeweed, fetid marigoldd, and cultivated marigold
Photo: Anne Toal
Large Orange Sulphur (Phoebis agarithe)
lantana, shepherd's needle, bougainvilla, rose periwinkle, turk's cap, and hibiscus
feather tree, and pithecellobium and inga species in the pea family
Photo: Megan McCarty
Mexican Yellow (Eurema mexicana)
flower nectar
acacia and diphysa, especially fern acacia
Photo: Megan McCarty
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
aster, common milkweed, and goldenrod
alfalfa, clovers, related legumes, and white clover
Photo: Megan McCarty
Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia)
alfalfa, coreopsis, houstonia, and verbena.
small-leaved plants in the pea family: alfalfa; prairie clovers, indigo, and clover
Gossamer-wing Butterflies (Family Lycaenidae)
Photo: Jerry Friedman
Purplish Copper (Lycaena helloides)
trailing lantana and sweet bush
docks, sorrels, and knotweeds
Photo: Clinton & Charles Robertson
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
sweet bush, trailing lantana, milkweed, blood flower, goldenrod, and Queen Anne's lace
legumes, hibiscus, hollyhock, passion flowers, and mallow
Photo: Anne Toal
Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus)
sweet bush, trailing lantana, desert broom, goldenrod, Hercules club, shepherd's needle, sweet pepperbush, and wild plum
Photo: Megan McCarty
Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)
sweet bush, trailing lantana, winter cress, dogbane, common milkweed, wild carrot, shepherd's needle, butterflyweed, and white sweet clover
junipers, especially alligator juniper
Photo: David Bygott
Leda Hairstreak (Ministrymon leda)
sweet bush, mesquite, trailing lantana, and seepwillow
Photo: Gary Jue
Boisduval's Yellow (Eurema boisduvalliana)
scruffy prairie clover, buckwheat, false indigo, and white sweet clover
senna and cassia species in the pea family
Photo: Anne Toal
Caeraunus Blue (Hemiargus isola)
scruffy prairie clover, buckwheat, false indigo, and white sweet clover
acacias, kidneywood, and baja fairy duster
Photo: Bill Bouton
Greenish Blue (Plebejius saepiolus) 
scruffy prairie clover, buckwheat, clovers, and falseindigo
clovers, especially alsike
Photo: Anne Toal
Marine Blue (Leptotes marina)
scruffy prairie clover, buckwheat, false indigo, and white sweet clover
baja fairy duster, kidneywood, false indigo, members of the pea family, leadwort, alfalfa, milkvetch, and mesquite
Photo: Anne Toal
Reakirt's Blue (Hemiargus isola)
buckwheat, white clover, and false indigo
pea family
Photo: Michael Rosenberg
Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)
scruffy prairie clover, cassia, wild indigo, and white sweet clover
sennas and shepherd's needle
Photo: Katja Schulz
Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)
scruffy prairie clover, buckwheat, dogbane, privet, blackberry, false indigo, common milkweed, and white sweet clover
woody shrubs and occasionally herbs: dogwood, New Jersey tea, meadowsweet, and collinsia
Photo: Forest & Kim Starr
Western Pygmy-Blue (Brephidium exile)
scruffy prairie clover, buckwheat, false indigo, and white sweet clover
pigweed, saltbush species, and others in the goosefoot family
(Family Riodinidae)
Photo: Anne Toal
Fatal Metalmark (Calephelis nemesis)
flower nectar
seepwillow and sometimes virgin's bower
Photo: Megan McCarty
Palmer's Metalmark (Apodemia palmeri)
flower nectar
Photo: Svdmolen
Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo) 
eriogonum, buckwheat, and yellow-flowered composites: senecio and rabbitbrush
Photo: Systasea Zampa
Arizona Powdered-Skipper (Systasea zampa)
French marigold
Photo: Brocken Inaglory
Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)
white-flowered composites: shepherd's needles, fleabane, and asters; also French marigold, oregano, sedum "autumn joy," red clover, knapweed, and beggar's ticks
globemallows, mallow, hollyhock, alkali mallows, velvet-leaf, and poppy mallow, and beggar's ticks
Photo: David Bygott
Erichson's White Skipper (Heliopyrgus domicella)
French marigold
Photo: Northern Prairie Wildlife
Small Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus scriptura)
French marigold
alkali mallow, scarlet globemallow, and desert globemallow
Photo: Stonebird
Northern White Skipper (Heliopetes ericetorum)
French marigold
Photo: Vitaly Charny
Golden-banded Skipper (Autochton cellus)
French marigold, trailing arbutus, blackberry, abelia, and hollyhock
legumes, New Mexico locust, and hog peanut
Photo: Bill Bouton
Violet-clouded Skipper (Lerodea arabus)
French marigold, bidens, and lantana
Bermuda grass and green spangletop
Photo: Eugene Zelenko
"White" Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis albescens)
French marigold
Photo: Aaron Gunnar
Northern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades)
nectar from blue, purple, pink, or white flowers including dogbane, selfheal, crown vetch, Japanese honeysuckle, thistles, common milkweed, Deptford pink, and hoary vervain
legumes, and plants in the pea family: beggar's ticks, bush clover, clover, and lotus 

Photo: Pbedell
Golden-headed scallopwing (Staphylus ceos)
pigweeds and Fremont's goosefoot
Photo: Kretyen
Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)
deerweed and California buckwheat
deerweed, legumes: New Mexican locust, bur clover, desert ironwood, and vetch
Photo: Bill Bouton
Persius Duskywing (Erynnis persius)

flower nectar
lupine, golden banner, lotus, and other legumes
Mexican Cloudywing (Thorybes mexicana)
flower nectar
clover, wild pea, and vetch

Mohave Sootywing (Hesperopsis libya)
flower nectar
Afranius Duskywing (Erynnis afranius)
flower nectar
legumes: deerweed, lupine, and milkvetch
Common Sootywing (Pholisora catullus)
ogbane, marjoram, oxalis, white clover, common milkweed, peppermint, cucumber, and melon
lambsquarters, amaranths, and cockscomb 
Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)
lueberry, wild strawberry, blackberry, Labrador tea, dogbane, New Jersey tea, winter cress, purple vetch, and lupine
willows, poplars, aspens, and occasionally birch
Persius Duskywing (Erynnis persius)
flower nectar
lupine, golden banner, lotus, and other legumes

Sleepy Duskywing (Erynnis brizo)
wild azalea, blueberry, blackberry, and dandelion
scrub oak and other shrubby oaks

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
aster, ironweed, verbena, milkweed, and woodland stonecrop
grasses, sedges, especially bermuda grass
Orange Skipperling (Copaeodes aurantiacus)
flower nectar
side oats grama, Bermuda grass, sideoats grama, and green spangletop
Dull Firetip (Apyrrothrix araxes)
nectar from monarda and baccaris
oaks: Arizona blue, emory, and Mexican blue
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
aster, butterfly bush, and milkweed
aspen tree and willow
Weidemeyer's Admiral (Limenitis weidemeyerii)
sap, snowberry, tree sap, and carrion
willow, aspen, cottonwood, ocean spray, and shadbush 

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Thank you very much for your comments and questions.I will be sure to reply as soon as I can. With Regards ~Emma