Butterflies are nature's dancing flowers. No other living creature has as many colors and moves in such great numbers as butterflies. This is all the more reason to have them visit your home. With the addition of a few plants, your number of butterfly visits will swell. Another benefit of a butterfly garden is hummingbirds are attracted to many of the same plants as butterflies, so it is like getting a 2 for 1 deal!
Plants for Butterflies
There are two classifications of butterfly plants you will want, host and nectar. You will want a good mix of both. Nectar plants will allow butterflies to feed while host plants are where butterflies leave their eggs. Important: Since butterflies leave their eggs on the host plant, do not treat it with insecticide. Also be willing to accept the host plant losing most of its foliage when the caterpillars appear.
A few nectar plants are zinnia, marigold, petunia, lantana, rudbeckia, butterlybush, purple coneflowers, butterfly milkweed, and salvia. Host plants include artemisa, nettles, hops, pawpaw, dill, legumes, parsley, fennel, wisteria, tulip poplar and passion vine.
Pick a spot that gets a lot of sun and very little wind. Create a raised landscape bed with some good dark soil. Landscape beds can be any size and shape. An idea is to have two separate landscape beds on both sides of an outdoor sitting area everyone can enjoy them regardless of where they are looking. Another option is to have them border a pathway in your yard so you can see the butterflies every time you walk through. Be creative! Once your beds are built, it is time to select where you want to put the plants in your garden.
There is only one thing to do once your plants are in and your garden is finished. Wait. The butterflies will come, they just have to realize there is a butterfly all you can eat buffet in your backyard. The best time to see butterflies in south Louisiana will be between 10 am to 3 pm during August and October. Butterflies can still be seen in the meantime, but those two months are butterfly prime time. So until then, keep an eye out and enjoy the show.