The Q&A Archives: Attracting Butterflies

Question: I want to attract butterflies to my flower box and was wondering if it is possible to plant milkweed in pots, or could I just put soil in my flower box and grow them from there? Or is there another plant that will work better in a flower box and attract butterflies? Thanks for all your help.

Answer: The best ways to attract butterflies are to plant in masses or groups all of one plant, and to avoid the use of chemicals. You may also want to plant food for caterpillars to encourage the butterflies to breed in your garden, although this means you will need to tolerate some larval feeding damage on your plants. Some plants that have been particularly successful in my butterfly garden are butterfly bush (Buddleia), Verbena bonariensis, Nepeta, Zinnias, Sedum spectabilis, purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), common chives and salvias of all kinds. Asclepias (butterflyweed), parsley, and Virginia creeper are excellent larval food sources as well as being ornamental. As for the milkweed, yes you can grow it in pots or planters, but don't stop with just milkweed - plant lots of other colorful plants and your garden will be very attractive to butterflies. Enjoy!

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