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Butterfly Gardening

butterfly photo Interesting Butterfly Facts:
  • Butterflys live from 2 days to 10 - 11 months for the Mourning Cloak butterfly.
  • Most butterflys sip nectar from flowers…but some feed on tree sap or rotting organic material.
  • At certain times during the summer, butterflys outnumber all other insects.
  • On average females live longer than males.
  • Most caterpillars eat plant material but the caterpillar of the Harvester butterfly eats aphids.
  • Butterfly Requirements
    Aside from the plants which feed and attract the butterflys, there are a number of basic physiological requirements:

  • Warmth…in order to fly butterflys need their bodies to be warmed to 50 degrees or 10 degrees celsius. Preferred temperatures are around 85F or 29C. South facing garden is best. On cold days they will try to perch on light coloured objects to try to warm their bodies.
  • Shelter…butterflys do not like wind. It cools them and makes it difficult for them to fly. Locate your butterfly garden in a sheltered area of your yard.
  • Moisture…Butterflies supplement the nectar they consume with nutrients and moisture from dew, puddles, ponds or other relatively still water features.
  • Pesticides…In order to have a butterfly garden you must avoid using pesticides. That means no Funginex , Diazinon, Weed n Feed, Bug bombs etc. etc. Butterflys grow from caterpillars, you can't have one without the other.
  • Best Caterpillar food:
    The caterpillars of some butterflies and moths are very choosy and will only eat one type of plant. Here is a list of common plants that attract butterflies:

    Annuals Perennials Trees & Shrubs
    Ageratum Agastache Azalea
    Cosmos Allium Buddleia
    Dianthus Anaphalis Hibiscus
    Heliotrope Asclepias Populus
    Lathyrus Caryopteris Potentilla
    Nicotiana Chelone Syringa
    Verbena Coreopsis Salix
    Lantana Delphinium Viburnum
    Zinnia Echinacea Wisteria
      Echinops  
      Eupatorium  
      Hesperis  
      Liatris  
      Malva  
      Monarda  
      Physostegia  
      Rudbeckia  
      Scabiosa  
      Sedum  
      Solidago  
      Veronica  

    Great Butterfly Websites

  • Butterfly Virtual Museum
  • The Butterfly Website
  • Biodiversity Butterflys
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