Yellow Swallowtail on Nasturtium
Yellow Swallowtail on Nasturtium

Nothing is better than sitting out in the garden with your coffee in the morning and watching a butterfly float by.  It just seems magical.  I’ve had red admirals, monarchs, swallowtails,  and even a mourning cloak visit throughout this season.  The key is to provide plants with nectar they love.

Monarch on Zinnia
Monarch on Zinnia

Key Plants for a Butterfly Garden

  • Zinnia
  • Cone flower
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Hibiscus
  • Lavender
  • Marigold
  • Rosemary
  • Verbena
  • Milkweed
  • Nasturtium
  • Rudbeckia
Female Black and Blue Swallowtail visiting Zinnias
Black and Blue Swallowtail visiting Zinnias

I’ve not been lucky enough to see them in caterpillar form.  From what I’ve read, most seem to lay eggs in early spring and hatch in the beginning of summer.  I do provide Milkweed for the ever dwindling population of Monarchs.  I’ve also plant parsley, dill, and carrot to host Swallowtail caterpillars.

Question Mark on Red Coneflower
Question Mark on Red Coneflower

I’m new to the Butterfly world, but I’ve read that the Question Mark feeds on rotting fruit, which luckily, I have in the form of Mulberries.  A tree has sprouted between me and my neighbor’s fence.  The birds love to get drunk off the over ripe fruit, apparently the Question Mark likes it too.

The Friendly Red Admiral
The Friendly Red Admiral

One of my favorite butterflies this season was the Red Admiral.  They like to perch on people.  To my surprise one morning, one of these guys just sat on the leg of my shorts as I watered.  Way to make me feel I’m a good gardener, Mr/Mrs. Admiral.

Keep a variety of blooming flowers throughout the entire summer,  and you’ll be sure to have visitors flipping and floating in.


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