Butterflies are always a welcome attraction for any garden. Especially in spring, the sight of many butterflies flitting from flower to flower just conjures up visions of a reborn Garden of Eden. Most types of plants that attract butterflies get them to come by putting out aromatic flowers which draw butterflies from far and near. There are many types of flowers that you can plant in your garden to attract butterflies. And when butterflies come, you will find other garden life forms also coming.
Here are three easy to grow plants that easily attract butterflies:
A plant that certainly attracts butterflies is Buddleja or Buddleia (Buddleja davidii) which comes from China. Another common name for it is Butterfly Bush. It is commonly planted in butterfly farms because its flowers provide food for butterflies. In some places, it has become a weed, but in a well tended garden, Buddleja is beautiful when it blooms, producing lavender colored bunches of fragrant flowers.
Buddleja grows well in slightly infertile, alkaline soil that drains well. They are unable to stand cold and wet conditions, and prefer sunny spots with good sun exposure. After flowering, it is best to prune Buddleja, but take care not to prune them in autumn. The flowers open in summer and continue up till autumn, attracting hordes of butterflies.
Another plant that is good for attracting butterflies is Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberose), or Orange Milkweed. It produces striking orange flowers which not only attract butterflies, but also various types of bees and hummingbirds. This plant doesn’t grow tall, only up to 2 feet tall (rarely 3 ft), and is native to the United States.
Butterfly Milkweed should be planted in sunny areas with slightly poor, sandy soil. They are easy to grow and can last through the winter. Water them infrequently. The Monarch butterfly loves it, because it provides food for their caterpillars, and it also contains medicinal properties which are used to create herbal supplements today.
Another butterfly attracting plant is the sunflower (Helianthus annuus), which also produces those showy, golden yellow flowers that it is famous for. The sunflower plant is huge, and can grow to the height of a house, and produces large flower heads, which in the Mammoth Russian variety, can be more than 10 inches across.
As its name implies, sunflower needs full sun all day long, and it is a rugged plant that requires generous space, good soil, and lots of water. Sunflowers are easy to grow, and can easily be grown from seed. Sow the seeds in spring, and it should bloom in the summer, becoming a magnet for butterflies and bees.
The Mexican sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia) is not to be confused with the common Helianthus sunflower, but it is also a good for attracting butterflies. It has similar requirements to the common sunflower, but does not do well in rich soil. It is more tolerant to drought than Helianthus, thus a good choice for desert gardens.