ROBERT AND SHERYL YANTIS • SPECIAL TO THE PICAYUNE
Butterflies are the jewels of the garden, and, with the right enticements, you can easily attract these colorful creatures. All you need are plants the caterpillars can feed upon and flowers from which the emerged butterflies can sip nectar. This will help butterflies flourish and provide you with many hours of enjoyment.Butterflies have long fascinated and delighted us with their varied and beautiful colors. Nothing is more enjoyable than watching butterflies flit from flower to flower. You can help conserve butterflies by the actions you take in your yard.
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Butterflies need color and fragrant flowers, ponds, trees and even mud. Choose plants that bloom at different times of the year. Blend nectar and host plants. Butterflies prefer purple and yellow flowers, followed by white and blue, then red. Group together nectar plants, and they will be more attractive to butterflies. When choosing among flowers, butterflies will usually select the most abundant blooms.
Butterflies also like areas of mud. Located in a sunny location, mud with no standing water can attract butterflies. The mud provides minerals and nutrients the butterflies require. They absorb the minerals through their feet.
You also should avoid using pesticides. These chemicals will kill butterflies. If you avoid killing the butterfly during the egg, larva and pupa stages and grow host plants for caterpillars, more adult butterflies will frequent your garden. By providing safe habitats for all stages in a butterfly’s life cycle, we all can enjoy more butterflies in our gardens.
Robert and Sheryl Yantis are Highland Lakes Master Gardeners, Certified Earth-Kind® Specialists through the Texas AgriLIFE Extension, Certified Landscape Design Consultants and webmasters of www.yantislakesidegardens.com.