Planting a Butterfly Garden

We are planting flowers to attract and benefit butterflies

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Planting a Butterfly Garden
Anise Swallowtail butterfly

We created a butterfly garden in a section of the yard. And it works. They are visiting more this year than ever, so it definitely works!

Monarch in the butterfly garden
Monarch in the butterfly garden

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.

Planting a Butterfly Garden
Planting a Butterfly Garden

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

Monarch butterfly
Monarch butterfly on butterfly bush

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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