Butterflies or Not
July 9, 2013
Perhaps the most welcome landscape visitors are butterflies. Gardeners love having the various shapes and colors fluttering through the garden. While everyone enjoys watching butterflies, many gardeners ask what plants will attract them to your garden? Two characteristics are shared by a majority of butterfly attracting plants: tubuler flowers and shades of red. Mexican Firecracker cuphea are magnets for butterflies like the beautiful black swallowtail. The black swallowtails also can't resist the Mississippi Medallion winner yellow shrimp plant. The orange and black gulf fritillary are attracted to Dallas Red lantana, and Skipper butterflies are attracted to the spiky flowers of the 2010 Mississippi Medallion winner Fireworks gomphrena. Duranta has sapphire-blue flowers which Monarch butterflies simply love. But there will be times in every garden when the butterflies just aren't flying. This is when butterfly garden art can fill in the gaps. For instance replica butterflies, like these wire forms, can be placed in strategic locations. Or big, larger than life butterflies can appear to be resting on fences and walls. Even signs can be used to warn visitors that entering the garden will be at their own risk. And don't forget to look both ways at butterfly crossings. You can even have mechanical butterflies that flit around and look pretty real. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.