The High Country Xeriscape Council of Arizona is a non-profit 501 C-3 corporation dedicated to educating our communities about water-wise gardening. For additional information write:
4397 E AZ Highway 260
Payson, AZ 85541
A butterfly garden can be as simple or elaborate as you want to make it. Size or complexity will not bring success or failure. Good planning and research play heavily in determining the number and species of butterflies you attract to your garden.
Start with selecting a butterfly field guide specific to your geographic region. Your geographic region if you lived in North America could be, for instance, the United States or Canada. Confining your search to within a specific state or province would be a better choice, increasing your chances for success. Pay particular attention to species requirements for both nectar and host plants. Planting you garden with only nectar-rich plants will definitely attract butterflies. Adding host plants to your plan will provide you with a peak into the entire lifecycle of butterflies.
Choose plants from the list that you, as well as the butterflies, are attracted to. If you donít like the flowers you have selected, even though the butterflies do, chances are you wonít spend much time in your garden. Plan on cutting some of the flowers. There are plenty to go around, and it in a good way to ensure continuous flowering over the blooming season.
An ideal location for your butterfly garden is in an area that receives at least six hours of full sunlight daily. This is generally listed as one of the requirements for most annuals and perennials that butterflies prefer as a nectar source. The butterflies also favor sunny locations. Please donít be discouraged if your garden does not meet this requirement.
Native wildflowers, or cultivars of the native species donít require a lot of special care if you have properly prepared your soil. Seldom bothered by pests or diseases, they are an excellent choice for your garden.
If you make an effort to attract beautiful butterflies to your garden, then please donít poison them with pesticides. A weed is merely an unwanted flower. Try pulling them by hand. What better excuse for spending more time in the garden. Insect pests seldom pick on healthy plants. Keep yours that way by picking up plant litter on a regular basis. Water your garden only when flowers and plants are showing signs of stress. Over watering causes many plant diseases, and it is not good for the plantís root system. The rest is out of your control so leave it to the birds and beneficial insects to rid your garden of unwanted pests.
Consider adding a birdbath or butterfly hibernation box to your butterfly garden. These are additions that are both useful and pleasing to the eye. Butterflies need water, especially on hot summer days. A flat rock placed in the middle of a birdbath gives butterflies a place to drink. Hibernation boxes provide some shelter from the elements even though very few species of butterflies actually hibernate. Popular also among butterflies are large, dark, flat rocks placed about the garden for sunning.
Just a few butterfly attracting plants:
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