In the warm months of the year, it's easy to tell the gardens that are the serious butterfly attractors - they will be all over! Your own garden can be a place that helps their populations multiply by adding a few specific elements that will bring beauty to your garden and attract butterflies from near and far.
Adult butterflies need a constant supply of sugary sweet nectar to keep them fit and healthy. They also need warm, sunny locations where they can spread their wings and absorb the rays of the sun. With that in mind, here are a few sun-loving plants that will bring butterflies by the dozens: zinnia, verbena, black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower, star flower, lantana, and butterfly weed.
If you're going to attract butterflies to the garden, be prepared to have caterpillars. Caterpillars, or larva, are the baby form of the butterfly before it goes into its chrysalis (cocoon) to develop and hatch into a butterfly. Like all babies, caterpillars are hungry and, in some cases, picky. They like what they like! For hungry caterpillars, be sure to include popular host plants such as parsley, dill, fennel, passionflower or passion vine, milkweed, and Dutchman's pipe available for them to munch on.
Extra caution should be used when using pesticides of any kind in and around a butterfly garden. Butterflies and caterpillars are delicate, and many are particularly susceptible to sprays of all kinds. Even eco-friendly biological controls can be detrimental to butterflies.