Now that you’ve planned out what the garden will look like, where everything will go, and which butterflies you might expect, it’s time to decide on your plants. To encourage your winged friends, you’ll want to find flowers and bushes that are nectar and pollen-rich. Butterflies use sense receptors on their legs and antennae to smell the flowers and ascertain whether the nectar is good.
Did you know though, that it’s not just their sense of smell that they use? They’re also attracted by colours. The type that each species will like will differ, but it’s best to plant a variety so that they have options and plenty of diversity to enjoy.
Traditionally there are certain flowers and shrubs you can plant that will always be popular. Perhaps most famous for attracting butterflies are the gorgeously scented, buddleja. These shrubs produce blossoms for several weeks during the summer and autumn months. You could consider planting a few different varieties which would extend the season they’ll flower.
Other blooms popular with butterflies tend to be shallow blossomed, brightly coloured plants because these allow the nectar to be easily accessed. Gardening blog, Fantastic Gardeners, explain that, “The crucial aspect of a butterfly-friendly garden is to provide different flowers that attract butterflies – both nectar-producing flowers such as butterfly weed, purple coneflowers, and asters – and host plants for their caterpillars like violets, nettle, or willow.”
As you consider what you want to grow, the wonderful thing about planning your space around butterflies is that you know that the plants you choose will be a rainbow of colours, have a gorgeous smell, as well as a variety of shapes and sizes.