When I first designed the front entry garden, I researched butterfly and hummingbird attracting plants to entice them to my yard. I dreamed of having a garden that was flooded by these beautiful creatures. Thankfully, there is a lot of plant overlap that attracts both.
Once I honed my plant list, I considered deer browsing and what plants I should avoid. While I don’t mind adding plants that have a low deer resistance rating because I spray them, I prefer to focus more on plants that they tend to avoid. To learn more about creating a deer-resistant garden, check out my blog post, Deer-Proofing Your Garden.
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If you want to start a butterfly garden, it is important to plan ahead. Do your research, site and prepare the bed, and include plants that both caterpillars and butterflies enjoy. To achieve success, be sure to feed butterflies with adult nectar plants and developing caterpillars with host plants.
It is important to plant nectar plants near fences, shrubs, trees and vines to provide shelter from winds and rain. When designing a butterfly border, there are few things to keep in mind:
- Plant in a sunny location.
- Research and select plants that will attract butterflies common to your area.
- Create a succession of blooms so butterflies visit and want to hang around.
Since butterflies lay eggs on certain plants that feed their caterpillars, butterflies prefer visiting gardens where host plants are nearby.
Examples of host plants include Milkweed, Viburnum, Wisteria, Flowering Dogwoods, Snapdagons, Foxgloves and many others. For more information about host plants, see Creating Inviting Habitats by the Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Tip: leave plants that are dying back or defoliated in the borders because they may contain eggs or developing butterflies on them. I allow my plants to die back naturally and avoid cutting plants back until early spring where possible. It doesn’t always look great, but it helps keep the butterfly lifecycle going!
It is important to select plants with varying bloom times so butterflies are fed from spring through fall. Butterflies’ attention is drawn to clusters of like colors so it is important to plant enough of the same flowers together.
- Butterflies favor native plants.
- Where possible, avoid pesticides in your gardens because they can wipe out butterflies and other pollinators.
- Butterflies are drawn to brightly colored purples, blues, yellows, whites and pinks.
- Focus on plants with multiple florets as well as composite flowers, because they can get more nectar at one time.
- Avoid double flowering varieties because they carry less nectar.
Plants that Attract Butterflies
In my gardens, butterflies love to sample Bee Balm, Echinacea, Butterfly Bush, Butterfly Weed, Liatris (when I had it), Coreopsis, Black-Eyed Susan, Tall Phlox, Sedum Autumn Joy and Joe Pye Weed.
If you would like more information regarding pollinators and how to attract them to your garden, see Creating Inviting Habitats by the Virginia Cooperative Extension.
The pollinators are thoroughly enjoying the front garden. I’ve seen several monarchs and swallowtails, hummingbirds, dragonflies and tons of bumble bees. They all seem so peaceful and content zipping from flower to flower to grab some nectar.
To see a video tour of the front garden this week, check out my IGTV video here.
Similar to the front border, the well garden has been laden with pollinators. Tall Phlox, Orange Daylillies, Coreopsis, Callicarpa and the annuals are all blooming. The Zebra Grass is full grown and adds some much needed movement to the border while my favorite, Smoketree, continues to stun with its brilliant reddish purple foliage.
To see a video tour of the well garden this week, check out my first IGTV video here.
The mailbox garden is in full bloom. I love the colors the annuals add to this tiny garden. Truth be told, I’m a little disappointed that the Clematis cover the mailbox like it normally does. But, it was a a struggle to train this year and I’m thankful it is alive and thriving.
Since weeding them a few weeks ago, the side gardens are still looking great! Speaking of the side gardens, I love the ferns my friend gave me several years ago. Everytime I go out there, I think of her! An that’s one of the things I love about gardening. Every plant that has been shared with me reminds me of the person that shared it. It’s as if a piece of them is here in the borders and I just love that!
The backyard gardens are doing well. I need to finish weeding the back border but it has been too hot to get out there. We’ve had a serious heat wave here where the heat index was about 108!
The resident groundhog is still making his mark in the gardens. I caught him trying to climb up my deck to snack on my containers while I was sitting there! When I took my camera out to take a pic of him, he ran back to his entrance under my shed. I’m not thrilled with the amount of damage he’s causing to the yard and wish he would find food elsewhere.
Since growing my butterfly garden, it has been a real thrill to see them stop by and enjoy the flowers. I love walking out the front door and watching nature do its thing!
If you missed a few tours or want to see how the garden has progressed, you can see them here:
- 1st Week – Bulbs and Early Spring Perennials
- 2nd Week – Cool Season Vegetables and Spring Flowers
- 3rd Week – Growth, Change and Everblooming Design
- 4th Week – Growth and Transition in the Spring Garden
- 5th Week – Container Gardens and Outdoor Living Spaces
- 6th Week – Adding Color with Annuals
- 7th Week – The Importance of a Tidy Border
- 8th Week – How to Create a Hummingbird Garden
- 9th Week – Spring to Summer Transition
- 10th Week – Summer Perennials, Pest and Disease Control
- 11th Week – Summer Gardening and Patriotic Decor
- 12th Week – Caring for Gardens While On Vacation
Do you have a butterfly garden or love to garden too? I would love to hear about it and see some photos of your gardens, no matter how big or small!
You can find me @bricksnblooms on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram! Tag me on any photos you post so I can enjoy your garden too and hashtag them with #bricksnbloomslovesblooms! Your comments mean so much to me and make my day.
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I hope you enjoyed this week’s garden tour and appreciate you joining me! Contact me here if you have any questions. Thank you for following along. Happy planting – enjoy your day! xo