How to create your own butterfly garden!

Butterflies, pollinators and nectar feeders will love a garden of mixed masses of flowers.  Here are a few popular choices to attract butterflies to your garden.

Allium

Allium (early bloomer) Is a spring bloomer, so a great source for the first of the butterflies returning to the areas.

Asclepias

Asclepias spp. (summer bloomer) Known as Butterfly weed, this one is a favorite of all butterflies.

Buddleia

Buddleia (summer bloomer) With a name like Butterfly bush you are sure to find all kinds flocking to this one!

Echinacea

Echinacea (summer bloomer) The coneflowers daisy like flower attracts all sorts of pollinators.

Monarda

Monarda (summer bloomer) Known as Beebalm, it also attracts all kinds of nectar loving insects and birds.

Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia (summer bloomer) Black eyed susan is another great source for butterflies and pollinators.

Helenium

Helenium (late bloomer) Sneeze weed is a late bloomer and extends the season for the butterflies.

Eupatorium

Eupatorium (late bloomer) Joe Pye Weed is a late bloomer giving an extended season for the butterflies.

As your garden grows keep an eye out for some of these common Midwestern butterflies!

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) can be found in most sunny places including moist fields, prairies or marshes. Red Admiral caterpillars eat plants of the Nettle family.

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) closely resembles Monarch Butterfly but acts much differently; they are territorial and will chase off other butterflies and fly by flapping rather than gliding like the Monarchs. Viceroys are usually found in wetlands and prairies with willows. Viceroy caterpillars feed on Willows, Aspens and Cottonwoods.

Viceroy

Monarch (Danaus plexippus) caterpillars eat a strictly Milkweed diet which makes them poisonous to predators (birds know to stay away from Monarchs!).  The Monarchs are the most common butterflies you will see as they flutter through your garden.

Monarch

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)  caterpillars eat Thistle, Mallow, Hollyhock and related plants. An interesting bit of trivia, they are found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia.

Painted Lady

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) likes sunny places with weeds and flowers, and can be found in gardens, vacant lots, old fields, pastures and marshes. Black Swallowtail Caterpillars eat Parsnips, Wild Carrots, Celery, Parsley and Dill.

Black Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail  (Papilio glaucus) are most commonly found in woodlands, fields, rivers, creeks, roadsides, and gardens. Tiger Swallowtail caterpillars eat Prunus, Sweet Bay Magnolia, Tilia, Liriodendron to name a few.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail


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