Butterfly meadow ideas

forestexplorerFebruary 4, 2012

There is a long stretch of lush turf on the western border of my yard that i would like to make an attraction to butterflies. My plan is to plant specimen perrenials sporadically throughout the stretch. I'm not so focused on the asthetic value of the plants plants themselves but their ability to attract butterflies and other insects Any reccomendations would be greatly appreciated..

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bob_71(z7 MD)

You're in the same zone as I am, so perhaps some that did well in my yard will work in yours.

Lantana, Buddleia (butterfly bush/butterfly weed), Agastache (Anise hyssop), Brazilian Verbena, Purple Coneflower, Joe Pye Weed, Mistflower.

Good luck to you!


    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 2:07PM
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You should also plant host plants for the butterflies. That will bring in the females to lay eggs and of course, who shall follow but the males! Then of course you will have the chrysalis eclose with new butterflies to keep the cycle going.

Not sure where you are but search the FAQ for host plants for the different butterflies and come back to tell us where you are. Then people in your area can give you feedback on specific species to attract.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 12:23PM
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Oh sorry, Spartanburg, Upstate SC. I was thinking i could attract a few swallowtails, painted lady butterflies, and skippers. Perhaps plant some dill or parsely in thickets of herbs for the caterpillars, which i think are equally if not more interesting than the butterflies!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 9:37PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

Meadows don't include "lush turf." At my first house, I had a 30' X 30' area that became a meadow. I got away with it because of some very specific circumstances. I'm working on going that way again but it is a piecemeal operation right now. Grab a chunk here and there, and someday it will be a meadow. Good planning and knowing your state's laws comes in handy (don't have something like Queen Anne's Lace which is an official noxious weed in Ohio).

Anyway, "lush turf" is some form of European grasses. While some skippers use fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass as hostplants, code enforcement will require you to keep it cut so the cats lose. This is why you switch to native grasses. Those grasses are considered landscaping. Choose the ones that local skippers, satyrs, and woodnymphs use. Add clover which is good for ETBs, cloudywings, and sulphurs. The only clover I can confirm as useful is Trifolium repens, but it is not native so it to tougher to defend against code enforcement.

Get some wild senna for cloudless sulphurs. Peppergrass (Lepidium virginicum) for checkered whites. Throw in some Zizia or Mock Bishop's weed for BSTs. Poke or swamp milkweed for monarchs. Carolina wild petunia for buckeyes. Something in the Antennaria genus or maybe Gamochaeta falcata for American Ladies.

Painted ladies have the most varied hostplant list of any butterfly in the US. I suggest getting suggestions from someone local that has had some success.

False nettles are native to SC and good for red admirals, eastern commas, and question marks.

Anyway, I say make it a real meadow, make it big, and make it native to SC. The butterflies will come.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 1:22PM
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