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Planting Your Butterfly Garden

April 13, 2009

One of the most enjoyable things about a spring garden can be the butterflies that are attracted by the flowers. Many people plan their flower gardens to attract the highest number of butterflies possible. There is no one best way to attract butterflies, but any gardener can expect to see plenty of butterflies in the spring if they plan a garden that includes plenty of colorful flower varieties.

One of the easiest ways to attract butterflies is to plant a variety of wildflowers. These flowers tend to be hardy and easy to grow, but they are also a favorite of butterflies. Their bright colors attract butterflies as well as hummingbirds to a flower garden. Wildflower seed mixes can be used to create a surprise array of different types of wildflowers. These are perfect for large areas like meadows and untended areas that could use splashes of color.

Other brightly-colored flowers will attract butterflies in the spring as well. Brilliant bursts of color, especially ones that are large and easy for butterflies to see, will attract them to come and sip nectar in your garden. Some of the best butterfly attractors are large, bright flowers such as Columbine and Purple Coneflower. One way to build a garden that butterflies and hummingbirds can’t ignore is to plant flowers at various heights. Small, ground-covering flowers like Creeping Thyme can be planted alongside taller butterfly attractors like Orange Sulphur Cosmos. And for a taller flower to act as the backdrop of your butterfly garden, try a few Indian Spring Hollyhocks. These are spectacularly tall flowers that grow to as high as 7 feet. These flowers will attract any high-flying butterflies that happen by for a snack.

To keep butterflies around your flower garden for as long as possible, plant flowers that will bloom during different seasons. The hummingbird season may be relatively short, but butterflies can stick around sipping nectar from your flowers until the fall. By choosing flowers like Indian Spring Hollyhocks that will bloom through the fall, you can extend the time that you enjoy visits from butterflies.

To attract butterflies in the late spring and early summer, plant fast-germinating seeds that bloom early. A few of these include Annual Phlox, Zinnia California Giants and Perennial Tickseed. These early bloomers can keep the butterflies full of nectar and the flowers that bloom later in the season, like Cosmos Pinkies, will keep them coming back for more.

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