Butterfly and Hummingbird Gardening

Butterflies

Attracting Butterflies can be a rewarding process, while most people think adding nectar producing plants is all they have to do, to really get a rewarding butterfly garden you will need to go a little further.  Avoiding insecticides, adding water sources and host plants that follow the whole butterfly lifecycle will create a butterfly eco system for your home.

Native plants will always be the best butterfly attracters.  Most butterflies will go to any nectar plant, but butterflies can be more picky about there host plants.

 

Here are some great nectar plants to consider that are well known for attracting a variety of butterflies:

  • Blanket Flower

  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii – purple, blue and pink may attract more butterflies than yellow and white)

  • Cosmos 

  • Joe-Pye Weed

  • Lantana camara – Most all colors are attractive to butterflies. I have seen ‘Miss Huff’ mentioned frequently as an excellent butterfly magnet and I have had great success with ‘Red Spread’.

  • Milkweed (also doubles as a host plant for Monarchs but MANY butterfly species like to nectar at the flowers)

  • Pentas lanceolata

  • Phlox 

  • Purple Coneflower 

  • Verbena 

  • Zinnias

 

Butterfly Host Plants to consider are ones that caterpillars love to eat

  • Milkweed

  • Parsley

  • Dill

  • Fennel

  • Anise

  • Citrus

  • Azaleas

  • Poplar trees

  • Sassafras trees

Butterflies love Fruit.  You can use your over ripe fruit to attract many different types of butterflies.  Using an old suit feeder is a great way to display this fruit to butterflies.  Also placing it in an open compost pile will do double duty.  Feeding the butterflies while adding to your compost.

 

Butterflies Love Mud Puddles

Butterflies, especially the males, are attracted to moist mud where they will often congregate to find minerals and salts that supposedly increase their fertility (this is called “puddling”).  Keeping an area of soil most or providing a saucer with moist soil will help your butterfly population.

 

Humming Birds

Humming birds like a more open garden which lets them move freely from flower to flower.  They like yards that are half sun and and have filtered thorough full shade.

 

Humming birds love deep throated nectar plants

Curved beds and borders allow hummingbirds to approach blooms from several sides. Keep shorter flowers in front of tall ones to give hummingbirds easy access to their favorite flowers.

Hummingbirds actually spend most of their day quietly perched in trees or shrubs. Humming birds eat every 4 to 6 times an hour  and can visit hundreds of flowers each day in search of food.

Providing places for hummingbirds to perch can keep them in your yard. Males perch almost anywhere in the open -- on twigs, clotheslines, and overhead wires. Females and immature birds prefer to remain hidden among trees, shrubs, and vines.  

If your yard space is limited, consider plants that do double duty for food and shelter, such as citrus, honeysuckle, confederate jasmine, weigela, flowering quince, and bottlebrush.

Feeder Placement is important.  Humming birds like different types of feeders from ones at heights of 2 feet in flowers, to ones hanging in the open.  Placing your feeder near the 3 things Humming Birds like most will gain you the most success to attracting these birds. (Shelter, Flowers, and a water source)

Humming Birds Make up the second largest family of birds, while also being the smallest sized bird.  There diet consist of Nectar, and tiny insects.  Often Humming birds eat 200% of their weight a day because of there hyper active means of flight.  Attracting these majestic birds to your yard will bring you joy for years to come.   With the appropriate mix of feeders, perches, insects, water and flowers these iridescent beauties will be buzzing around your yard.