Gardens are innately a beautiful thing to behold, but a garden with butterflies? That’s just heavenly! Contrary to what you may think, gardening for the purpose of attracting butterflies is not difficult at all. Effective butterfly gardens don’t require a large amount of space, and you only need to plant a few key plants to make an impact. Also, when you live in Florida, a state with over 180 butterfly species, there’s a great opportunity to interact with native wildlife right in your back yard!

The first step to starting your own butterfly garden is planning. You need to find an area for your plants that will get a lot of sun and not too much wind.  It’s recommended that you start this garden near some trees or shrubs, as this will provide a place for the butterflies to rest and stay awhile. Also, place a few flat rocks that will get sunshine, because your future guests will enjoy a place to bask during the cool mornings.

Diversity is key to attracting butterflies for a long time. A lot of pretty flowers will surely get their attention, but shrubs and rocks that mimic the wild will give them incentive to stick around for a while! A wide range of nectar plants – the plants that will feed your butterflies – will consequently attract a wide range of butterflies.

The Buddleia (actually called butterfly bush!), Fire bush, Cuphea, and Blue Plumbago are just a few shrubs to name that are absolutely wonderful in our area of Jacksonville, FL – and also very popular among the butterflies!

When it comes to picking out the nectar plants, there are lots of options to pick from. The plants that offer the most nectar include Verbena, Azaleas, Supertunias, Lantana, Pentas, and Gardenias. These flowers will bring lots of color to your landscape, and they’ll provide a rich source of nectar for your butterflies. Butterfly plants that provide food and shelter include Milkweed, Parsley, Wisteria, Cassia, Passion Vine, Dutchman’s Pipevine, and Willows. Featuring a lot of different options of plants will provide a setting that encourages butterflies to settle.

Once you have all of your plants in place, it’s time to wait for the butterflies to arrive! Remember to avoid using pesticides on your garden, as this can threaten the health of butterflies and their larvae. Never be afraid to ask a plant expert for their help when you pick out the flowers for your garden. They can let you know which flowers are native to your area of Florida, which will promote success in attracting butterflies!

To learn more about how to start your own butterfly garden, or any other kind of garden, give Trad’s Garden Center a call!