Attracting Butterflies To Your GardenPosted By: Hugh Forbia Category: Garden Wildlife
Did you know there are 59 species of butterfly resident in Britain? A further 30 species migrate here from Europe.
Butterflies are beautiful insects which provide a great source of interest when they visit our gardens to feed on flower nectar and help pollinate plants. The caterpillars of a few species are considered to be pests, but most cause little or no damage and should be left alone.
Hot tips for butterfly friendly gardens!
· Give visiting butterflies a home. You can buy beautiful butterfly houses to display on a sheltered wall, or place among your flowers.
· Foraging for food is thirsty work! Butterflies will visit bird baths, but you can simply put out a small dish of water. Adding a little sugar will give tired butterflies an extra boost.
· Place flat stones in a sunny spot for butterflies to bask in the warmth. Plants growing in sunny, sheltered spaces are more likely to be visited than those growing in shady or windswept areas.
· Don’t be in a hurry to clear up fallen fruit from under your fruit trees. In late summer butterflies, such as Red Admiral and Painted Lady will feed on fruit juices in fallen over-ripe pears, apples and soft fruit such as plums and cherries.
· Don’t kill butterflies! It sounds obvious, but insecticides kill off more than just those pesky greenfly. Use organic products, apply to plants in the evening and avoid spraying the flowers themselves if possible.
· If you aren’t an avid gardener, try creating a wildflower space. Native flowers are loved by butterflies and other pollinators.
· Providing food for caterpillars will increase the number of butterflies. It’s obvious really! Leave a patch of thistles and stinging nettles to grow, as these will help feed caterpillars and strengthen butterfly numbers in your garden.
Best plants and thier flowering times
Your garden should provide butterfly friendly flowers that are rich in nectar throughout the butterfly season which runs from late spring to the first frosts. The greater the number of suitable flowering plants in your garden the better but you should aim for at least two kinds of butterfly-friendly plant for each flowering period.
Aurinia Saxatilis, Bugle, Buttercup, Candytuft, Geranium, Hawthorn, Hebe, Honeysuckle, Hydrangea, Lady’s Smock, Lavender, Marigolds, Privet, Pussy Willow, Scabious, Sedum, Stocks
Ageratum, Angelica, Blackberry, Buddleia, Caryopteris, Cornflower, Dandelion, Echinacea, Heather, Heliotrope, Hemp Agrimony, Ivy, Marjoram and Oregano, Nasturtium, Runner Bean, Scabious, Teasel, Valerian