Planting the garden for butterflies

We have chosen some flowers in the garden with the butterflies in mind. They are visiting more this year than ever, so it definitely works!

We started by visiting the University of California, Santa Cruz Arboretum, where they have a butterfly garden and information about which plants the local butterflies prefer. Then looked up suggestions online. We have noticed that they are especially attracted to the following:

  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
  • Coneflower (Echinacea)
  • Lantana
  • Marigolds
  • Lavender
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Milkweed
  • Agapanthus
  • Aster
  • Salvia
  • Sunflowers

Also, anything with the word butterfly in the name.

Most frequently we see Monarchs, Tiger swallowtails, Tortoises, Fritillaries, Painted Ladies, Common Buckeyes, and Red Admirals.

The butterfly larva often prefer a specific plant, so we planted some for them as well. This is a tiger swallowtail butterfly larva on black dill and a Monarch butterfly larva on Showey milkweed

Photos by Tony Fitzgerald Photography

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