Ask a Question forum: Butterfly garden advice

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Bloomington, Indiana (Zone 6a)
CrazedHoosier
Apr 7, 2018 6:07 PM CST
We are trying to make a butterfly/bee/hummingbird garden this year! We have specific plants we will be putting from smallest to largest. The plants to be put into the garden are: Arizona blanket flower, coreopsis (sterntaler), bee balm (fireball), Shasta daisy (Alaska), phlox (paniculata), and coneflower (purple). The garden is 9x5.5 feet, and recieves 4-7 hours of sunlight depending on the season. The purple coneflower is already in the garden, and will be used as one of the farthest back flowers. My question is, in what order should I plant these flowers for maximum chance of success? Is this a good plan?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Apr 7, 2018 6:34 PM CST
I think first, you should find out what kind of butterflys, birds and bees frequent your area and what they are most attracted to.

Then, plant your garden as you find the plants you want after danger of frost is over. You also want to choose flowers that will attract your "guests" over a long period - if everything blooms at once, they won't be around all summer. Don't forget the water source.

BTW: Hummingbirds are attracted to bright flowers with a tubular shape like penstemon.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Bloomington, Indiana (Zone 6a)
CrazedHoosier
Apr 7, 2018 6:57 PM CST
DaisyI said:I think first, you should find out what kind of butterflys, birds and bees frequent your area and what they are most attracted to.

Then, plant your garden as you find the plants you want after danger of frost is over. You also want to choose flowers that will attract your "guests" over a long period - if everything blooms at once, they won't be around all summer. Don't forget the water source.

BTW: Hummingbirds are attracted to bright flowers with a tubular shape like penstemon.


A lot of the plants I listed are actually native to my area! I based my list off of what I've heard and seen butterflies, bees, and pollinators in general, flock to. I think all those plants bloom from spring-fall, right?
Name: Meredith
Atlanta (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Butterflies Hummingbirder Seed Starter
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memays
Apr 8, 2018 6:43 AM CST
Crazed Hoosier - butterfly gardening is great fun! There are tons of sources, including the North American Butterfly Association website (www.naba.org). For butterfly gardening in Atlanta, I have found that it takes real effort to get season wide (Spring - Fall) nectar sources - summer and fall are generally easier, and is when you will see the most activity - but on any day of temps of 60 and above you can see butterflies, and we get such days in Jan, Feb, March, etc. - intermittently. So the early spring bloomers (native azaleas, plum, blueberry, etc.) are really important. I'd also encourage you to include host plants - then you'll get to experience the butterfly lifecycle. Good luck!
I love butterfly gardening & am active in NABA. Please visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/group... & website nabageorgia.weebly.com.
Name: Beverly
Colima, Mexico (Zone 11a)
Butterflies Organic Gardener Tropicals Native Plants and Wildflowers Seed Starter
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vitrsna
Apr 8, 2018 9:54 AM CST
I agree with @memays about considering not just nectar plants, but butterfly host plants as well. For the life cycle, host plants are more important than nectar plants and will attract more butterflies. First, find out what butterflies have a tendency to visit your garden/area (internet search), then discover what the butterflies use as host plants in your area (another internet search), then plant lots of those plants (which will most likely be native to your area). Then wait and see, a magical new world will unfold before your eyes full of surprises and delights.

I might add, keep the garden free of pesticides and insecticides.

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