The Q&A Archives: Butterfly Garden

Question: Would like to know how to go about planting a butterfly garden for my daughter. She has semi-sunlight. She loves butterflies and this would be nice for her. She is a nurse and works long hard hours. Please help a mother who loves her daughter.

Answer: What a thoughtful Mom and what a wonderful project for your daughter! Butterflies are attracted to disc or ray shaped flowers, because they are easiest to land on. They also are attracted to lots of color. So, if you have an abundance of different kinds of flowers blooming at different times throughout the season, you'll attract lots of butterflies. Here's a list of some of the butterfly attracting plants that grow well in Florida:
SCARLET MILKWEED (Asclepias curassavica), attract Monarch, Queen butterflies
YELLOW MILKWEED (Asclepias curassavica), 'Silky Gold' Monarch, Queen
GIANT PIPEVINE/PELICAN FLOWER (Aristolochia gigantea), Gold Rim Swallowtail
PIPEVINE/DUTCHMAN'S PIPE/CALICO FLOWER (Aristolochia littoralis), attract Gold Rim Swallowtail, Pipevine Swallowtail
MAYPOP PASSIONVINE (Passiflora incarnata) Gulf Fritillary, Variegated Fritillary, Zebra Longwing
HERCULES CLUB/SO. PRICKLY ASH/TOOTHACHE TREE (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) Giant Swallowtail
RUE (Ruta graveolens), attracts Giant Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail
DILL (Fall-early spring only) Anethum graveolens, attracts Black Swallowtail
FENNEL (Foeniculum vulgare) Black Swallowtail
PLUMBAGO/LEADWORT (Plumbago auriculata) Cassius Blue
FALSE NETTLE (Boehmeria cylindrica), Red Admiral
LEMON BACOPA (Bacopa caroliniana), White Peacock
SWEET BAY TREE (Magnolia virginiana), Tiger Swallowtail
HACKBERRY/SUGARBERRY TREE (Celtis laevigata Hackberry), attracts Tawny Emperor,
Snout, Question Mark
SMALLFLOWER PAWPAW (Asimina parviflora), attracts Zebra, Swallowtail
BUTTERFLY CASSIA/CHRISTMAS SENNA (Cassia bicapsularis), attracts Sulphurs esp. Sleepy Orange, Cloudless Sulphur, Orange-Barred Sulphur
CANDLE PLANT (Cassia alata), attracts Sulphurs esp. Orange-Barred Sulphur
BUTTERFLY PEA (Clitoria ternatea), Long-Tailed Skipper

These plants provide nectar:
LANTANA (Lantana camara)These and pentas are by far the two most popular butterfly nectar plants. There are multi-colored cultivars, and the butterflies seem to prefer them to the single colors.
PENTAS (Pentas lanceolata), Butterflies love pentas and particularly the TALL RED pentas which are frequently harder to find , but worth the effort!
BUTTERFLY BUSH (Buddleia davidii)
PURPLE PORTERWEED (Stachytarpheta)
TITHONIA/MEXICAN SUNFLOWER (Tithonia rotundifolia)
TROPICAL SAGE (Salvia coccinea)
MEXICAN FLAME VINE (Senecio confuses)
FIRE BUSH (Hamelia patens)
GOLDEN DEWDROP (Duranta repens)
COREOPSIS/TICKSEED (Coreopsis leavenworthii)
CAT'S WHISKERS (Orthosiphon stamineus) Likes a shady, moist area.
WHIRLING BUTTERFLY (Guara lindheimeri)
MEXICAN BUSH SAGE (Salvia leucantha)
STOKE'S ASTER (Stokesia leavis)
SEASIDE GOLDENROD (Solidago sempervirens)
JOE PYE WEED (Eupatorium fistulosum )
PURPLE CONEFLOWER (Echinacea purpurea)

You can choose your favorites from the above list. Hope you and your daughter enjoy your new butterfly garden!

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