Spring is here and everyone is racing to prepare their garden. Flowers are blooming and wildlife is abundant. Many people make an effort to bring specific birds and other wildlife to their garden. Birds can be lured with birdseed and dried corn can gather the attention of squirrels. Butterflies, however, can be a little more elusive. There are several type of flowers and plants that butterflies seem to gravitate towards. With a little research and effort, your garden can be an oasis for these colorful, winged, guests.
Milkweed actually attracts the caterpillars that turn into Monarch butterflies. They adhere to the stalks and remain until it is time to emerge as a butterfly. Many people plant this in their yard in the spring to start bringing in caterpillars for their children to observe. While mildewed is very effective, it is also very toxic. Children and animas can become ill if milkweed is ingested. There are over 75 milkweed species, and some are more toxic than others. Birds and reptiles can become very ill from eating the caterpillar or Monarch that feeds off of the milkweed. The toxins are used as protection for the caterpillars and butterflies.
The relaxing scent of lavender is good for humans, as well as attracting butterflies. The scent is calming for humans and animals, and the color of the bloom is also attractive to butterflies. Since lavender is not toxic for humans or animals, it is a great way to attract butterflies to a garden where children and pets play regularly.
Lantana comes in a variety of colors, from plain white to multi-colored “bandana lantana”. These are native to the warmer weather, and grow rapidly. The strong scent and sweet nectar beckon to the butterflies. You must, however, be careful with lantana, as well. Lantana harbors toxins that can make pets and humans extremely ill. While they easily take over a large space, they can also be grown in hanging pots. This makes it easier to keep small children from tasting them.
Catnip easily attracts butterflies and is meant for animals, so it is safe to plant in your garden. It grows very quickly, however, and can interfere with other plants if not kept under control. It can help to grow it in a large pot and keep it there, if you wish to keep it in one area. The roots can be slowed down, as well, if catnip is started in a pot and transplanted later. This plant also attracts cats. If you prefer to stay clear of roaming cats, choose another plant.
Butterfly gardens can be a lot of fun when they are planted with care. All plants should be checked for toxicity, especially when children or pets frequent the garden. Take care to plant properly to avoid any one plant from taking over, as well. Sit back and enjoy the scenery.