Saturday, September 11, 2010

Native Plants that Butterflies Love

Native plants are those that are indigenous to the United States, those that were meant to grow and thrive here. Exotics are those that aren’t, and typically need tons more care to get to grow and thrive anywhere. These native plants are ones that many butterflies adore and will stay near. Achieve a thriving butterfly sanctuary full of beauty in your garden or landscape by planting a few of these favourites.

The Milkweeds
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) are both good additions to the landscape for attracting butterflies. They get two to three feet high and like partial shade. Swamp milkweed has pink or purple blooms while the butterfly milkweed has fire orange blooms. They are good with water restrictions and are drought tolerant. Both can be toxic if consumed. These tend to attract Monarch butterflies because they are the plants that the larvae can survive on. Monarch butterflies can only survive in the larvae stage on Milkweed plants, so it is crucial to have these around if Monarch butterflies are what is desired.

White Doll’s Daisy
The White Doll’s Daisy (Boltonia asteroides) is a fabulous looking plant. They have large daisy looking blooms that are white. It is a very adaptable to its surroundings and will get anywhere from two to four feet in height. It is a great butterfly attractor and it will have pink flowers every so often instead of its white blooms. It needs either partial shade or full sun to survive properly. Expect blooms from July to September for this flower. These make great photographs when the butterflies are resting on the big daisy-like blooms.

The Fringed Bleeding Heart
Also known as Turkey Corn, the Fringed Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia) has lovely reddish pink flowers that fall from the edges of the flower in hearts. It will get to a foot tall and needs full sun or partial shade to live right. It also needs mostly moist soil. It is a repeat bloomer and butterflies will flock to it. Pinch off the stems if more blooms are wanted from it. It has a vague fern like look to it as well. All parts of the Fringed Bleeding Heart can be toxic, so take care with the pets and small children with this plant.

Four Good Butterfly Garden Starters
These four are good starters if butterflies are what is hoped for as the end result of your labor intensive gardening. They have plenty of things that the butterflies want and are attracted to when choosing plants. Whether one is picked or all, they will add beauty and value to a landscape, the butterflies are just an added incentive to choose natives this year.

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