Butterflies, of the order of Lepidoptera, are insects of great utility. These foragers play a large part in the dispersal of pollen, like bees for example. By fluttering from flower to flower to feed on nectar, they allow many plants to reproduce. Thanks to these auxiliaries, the fruiting of fruit trees and vegetable plants is ensured. Colorful, airy, butterflies are therefore welcome in the garden and must be protected. Let’s see what you can do to attract them.
Plant butterflies’ favorite plants
And wildlife-friendly garden is necessarily so for Lepidoptera. It is necessary to cultivate a great diversity of nectar plants preferably chosen from those preferred by butterflies. The good idea is to multiply the plant species in order to stagger the blooms and create a rich palette of colors, knowing that some butterflies like white flowers, others blue or purple, still others red and orange, yellows, pinks… In short, we don’t overlook any tone, especially since it’s a delight for the eyes. Here are some ideas to follow if you want to create a butterfly paradise.
- The Agastache,
One cannot evoke the shrubs which exert a great attraction on the Lepidoptera without naming the Buddleia (Buddleia davidii) or butterfly tree. Fragrant, it flowers generously from July to October. It brings a touch as natural as it is decorative to the garden with its flowers of a bluish purple in panicles, its flexible branches and its pretty port. Note that there are other varieties of buddleias whose flowers come in different colors, mauve lilac (B. alternifolia), washing violet (B. dreaming lavender) or bright pink (B. Miss Ruby). They are hardy and easy to grow.
Lepidoptera lovers can very well be satisfied with planting a hedge only composed of different buddleias to play the color card and being able to admire a wide variety of butterflies. You just have to control these shrubs with a quite severe winter pruningotherwise they become invasive after a few years, a task that can be entrusted to a professional.
Some others shrub species which bloom abundantly will find their place in a hedge or in isolationand will transform the garden into a haven of peace with exquisite colors and scents.
- Chinese almond tree,
- Le Weigelia,
- Serviceberry of Canada,
- Le Seringat,
- La Viorne,
- The shrubby Potentille,
- Mexican orange tree,
- The Oleander…
They are essential for vegetate nicely its natural space.
- The rosebushes,
- sweet peas,
- The scabies:
- Scabieuse colombaire,
- Grass-leaved scabious or Lomelosia,
- Scabieuse de Gramont also called three-stamen,
- Field Scabious also called Field Knautie.
- The Lupine,
- morning glory,
- Poet’s carnation and more generally all carnations,
- The Solidago or Goldenrod,
- The Hollyhock,
- The sunflower,
- Garden Stonecrop or Autumn Sedum,
- purple echinacea,
- Yellow Echinacea…
These beautiful flowering plants offer a nectar highly prized by butterflies. Note that all single-flowered species (like roses and poppies for example), whose stamens are clearly visible, are not to be neglected because they allow Lepidoptera to easily access the nectar they take with their proboscis.
Ivy, an ideal habitat for butterflies
It is recommended plant climbing ivy at the foot of some trees in the garden, a low wall or the shed because it constitutes a perfect shelter for butterflies. Not only do they choose to live there, but they also find shelter there. Specialists consider it “the nectar bar par excellence thanks to its flowers which bloom from the second half of September, when many plant species are already completely deflowered.
Ban chemical phytosanitary products that are harmful to butterflies
Butterflies are among the animal species whose the number is decliningvictims of intensive agriculture and its consequences on the environment, the climate… We therefore all have a role to play in preventing them from completely disappearing from the planet.
Logically, whether you have a garden, a simple courtyard or just a balcony where you grow plants – in the ground or in pots – you do not resort to no chemical treatmentwhether to boost their growth, their flowering, to eradicate diseases and/or parasites such as aphids, mealybugs and other undesirables because butterflies are very sensitive to them.
We preferably opt for natural treatments whether it’s fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides or antifungals… Better still, we act in a way preventive. These means of control are multiple: sodium bicarbonate, black soap, macerations, fermented extracts or manure, decoctions, associations of useful plants, veils of protection, mulch. At the same time, we respect the needs of the plants by ensuring better organize your cultivated space. It is necessary to take into account the variable water needs according to the species and varieties, in sun or shade, and avoid sowing too densely to let the plants breathe.
This is how we naturally preserve the good plant health and consequently, that we drastically reduce the use of chemicals harmful to butterflies among others.
Create a mini water garden
No need to overdo it! We are not asking to dig all of our land in order to build a lake there, but simply to ensure that butterflies and all small animals can have a water point. Many solutions are possible, such as:
- A fountain,
- A basin,
- An old zinc basin,
- A barrel,
- A tank made with makeshift elements whose interior is covered with a waterproof tarpaulin of course.
All around this butterfly feederwe plant according to our aspirations all kinds of bee plants who like wetlands like theHemp Bonewort or Marsh oregano, a large plant well appreciated by Lepidoptera. This is the best way to combine business with pleasure.
Preserve a small piece of wasteland to invite butterflies to the garden
It is enough to walk in nature to see how much butterflies love wildflowers. The wild plants et wild grass constitute excellent shelters where they can lay eggs in peace and where their larvae, namely caterpillars, can find the food they need to grow and then metamorphose… into butterflies.
This small piece of wasteland should ideally accommodate a insect hotel and give pride of place to floral biodiversity. Observing nature during a getaway makes it possible to better identify the wild plants that attract Lepidoptera, namely among others:
- The Clover,
- The violet,
- wild carrot,
- The mustard,
- California poppy,
- The great burnet,
- sweet clover,
- The blue mill…
It is in this place left more or less fallow that it is very useful to sow flower meadow. All you have to do is buy a small sachet of specifically selected seeds if you want to create a colorful, fragrant, melliferous and bucolic plant jumble that attracts butterflies. But for that, you have to have the courage to say stop to gardens dressed to the nines without a blade of grass sticking out! We let go of some ballast, we leave the line, hoe and rake in oblivion and we await the spectacle that the butterflies emerging from their chrysalis will know how to animate to the rhythm of their aerial and colorful ballets: a pure marvel in the service of nature.