Different types of butterflies like different types of flowers. You can supply the things that the "friendly" butterflies like: food, a sunny place with shelter from wind, and water.
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There are butterflies you can attract to your garden, and there are butterflies that you will never see in your garden. There are species of butterflies that do not feed at all, and there are many that do not feed at flowers. However, butterflies that do not feed at flowers still need to lay eggs - and if you don't cultivate any of their host plants, you stand no chance of attracting them to your garden.
You can supply the things that the "friendly" butterflies like: food, a sunny place with shelter from wind, and water. If you're really hardcore, perhaps some rotting fruit or fresh dung, and host plants.
American Painted Lady - Borage, Burdock, Everlasting, Hollyhocks, Knapweed, Mallow, Sunflower, Wormwood
Variegated, Gulf Fritillary - Butterfly Bush
Great Spangled Fritillary - Violets, Pansy, Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Black Swallowtail - Carrot, Dill, Fennel, Parsley, Queen Anne's Lace, Rue
Dwarf Yellow - Violets
Common Wood Nymph - Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) Ox-eye Daisy, Frost Aster
Cabbage White - New England Aster. Host plants: Violets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Mustard, Nasturtium
Butterflies begin their life as an egg, laid either singly or in clusters depending on the species. A caterpillar emerges and, after consuming its egg shell, begins feeding on its host plant. Caterpillars must crawl out of their skin or molt, usually around five times, before changing into a pupa. Finally, an adult butterfly emerges, spreads its wings and flies away. This type of development is complete metamorphosis.
Butterfly gardens are a great source for your own enjoyment, photo opportunities, or an outlet for artistic talent. These gardens can also be extended to interest youth in nature, by providing a small window of native inhabitants of the local environment. On a final note, it's important to conserve butterflies when possible since their habitat is constantly diminishing due to the increasing needs and consequent development of roads and housing.
Like all insects, butterflies and moths are increasingly endangered by the spraying of pesticides.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Tiger Swallowtail, black
|If you intersperse groups of both wild and cultivated plants, as well as bloom times (time of day as well as year), you will bring the greatest numbers and variety of butterfly visitors. Large plantings of the same plants will be easier for butterflies to see than singly planted flowers. |
Some varieties of flowers which are easy to find and grow in Illinois, and will be attractive to many types of butterflies include: Aster, Black-eyed Susan, Coreopsis, Day lilies, Goldenrod, Hibiscus, Lavender, Lilac, Marigold, Butterfly Bush, Ox-eye Daisies, Phlox, Pink Azalea, Purple Coneflower, Redbud, Rosemary, Verbena.
|Buddleia||blue, pink, white||shrub||midsummer-fall|
|Lilac||lavender, white, pink||shrub||spring|
|Vaccinium spp.||white, pink||low shrubs||spring-early summer|
|Alyssum||violet, white||4 inches||summer-fall|
|Candytuft||white, pink||8-10 inches||spring-summer|
|Cosmos||white, lilac, red, yellow||1-3 feet||late summer|
|Marigold||yellow, orange||6-24 inches||summer-fall|
|Scabiosa||blue, rose, white||18-36 inches||summer-fall|
Dwarf Yellow, Dainty Sulphur
|Boneset||white||36-60 inches||late summer|
|Black-Eyed Susan||yellow||12-18 inches||late summer|
|Blazing Star||purple||up to 18 inches||summer|
|Dogbane||pink to white||shrub||early summer|
|Goldenrod||yellow||12-48 inches||late summer|
|Joe-Pye-Weed||lavender||36-60 inches||late summer|
|Milkweeds||lavender, orange||24-48 inches||summer|
|New England Aster||purple||24-60 inches||late summer|
|Thistle||pink, purple||24-48 inches||summer|
|Wild Bergamot||pink, lavender||24-36 inches||summer|
|Yarrow||white||12-36 inches||early summer|
Learn to identify many of the American Midwest's common species through descriptions and large diagnostic photos of live, wild specimens.
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