By Lisa Lonsdale
If you are still in your spring planting mode, consider adding some additional flowering plant varieties to your gardens to attract butterflies. Butterflies are not only beautiful to see flitting around your yard but they provide an important function along with bees; they are terrific pollinators! As they fly from flower to flower to eat, they are transferring pollen along the way. The more they move around, the greater the benefit to the plant world.
Some of the most common butterflies we see in our gardens are Tiger Swallowtail, Cloudless Sulphur (small yellow with spots) and Fritillary (Monarch look-alike), Monarch and California Sister. All these butterflies have host plants that they lay their eggs on that provides the nourishment for their caterpillars, ensuring the next generations of butterflies.
Besides providing the specific host plants for offspring, it is important to provide the adult butterflies with a large supply of flowering plants to give them the strength to produce those offspring. So, if you are at the Home Center or the Nursery, think about our dusty-winged friends and pick up a few plants for them. Some of the most common plants available, that attract butterflies are as follows: lantana, all milkweeds (labelled as butterfly bush), all salvias, impatiens, all lavenders, verbena, all yarrows, goldenrod, all mints, daisies, zinnias, rosemary and lilac. Native plants such as Monkey flower and buckwheat are also great attractors. This is just a small list of plants that will bring the butterflies to your yard. Just keep this in mind, if it flowers, it probably will attract some type of butterfly.
If you are interested in growing milkweed, I have lots of seeds available, so you can get them established for next year. You can call me at (760)749-8723. Happy planting!