Like all animals, butterflies need food (both in the caterpillar stage and as a butterfly), water, shelter, and security. Creating a comfortable environment for butterflies to live and breed takes some forethought, and possibly a different way of gardening than you are used to. Autumn Hill Nursery in Woodstock, GA wants to help you welcome butterflies into your garden! Avoid using chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides as much as possible in the garden where host and food plants are located.

Where You Should Add your Butterfly Garden

Butterflies need warmth to fly. They love the sun, so make sure some part of your garden is in a sunny location. Provide rocks for them to rest on while their wings collect heat from the sun.

Stacking some small logs in an alternating fashion can easily make shelter from rain and wind. Cap the top with a shingle or plastic to keep out additional rain. A few logs or rocks on top of these will disguise them.

A shallow birdbath with some rocks exposed above the water will allow the butterflies to drink. The birdbath should be on or near the ground. A bog area with some rocks will do the same. A basin lined with plastic and filled with peat moss and compost will hold moisture for the butterflies.

Plants That Attract Butterflies

Butterflies lay eggs on plants. These plants are called host plants. Some favorites for butterflies that frequent our area are: milkweed (Asclepias), parsley, Queen-Anne’s lace, fennel, passion vine and mallow. As the larvae grow into caterpillars, they will feed on the plant, so don’t be disappointed to see the plants stripped of their foliage.

Once the caterpillars pupate, and emerge from their pupal casings as butterflies, they will search for nectar as food. They also feed on natural sugars found in decaying fruits.

Some common plants that provide nectar for butterflies are:

  • Achillea (yarrow) Ageratum Aster Buddlea (butterfly bush) Coreopsis
  • Comos Coneflower Dianthus Gaura Daylily
  • Impatiens Lantana Lavender Lobelia Petunias
  • Phlox Rudbekia Scabiosa Sedum Verbena
  • Veronica Zinnias

In addition, plants such as abelia, azaleas, viburnum and wisteria have flowers that butterflies enjoy.

By creating a suitable environment for butterflies to live and breed, you can enjoy watching generation after generation of butterflies in your own Woodstock, GA yard. For more help creating the perfect butterfly habitat at your home, visit either of our locations in Canton, GA or Woodstock,GA and we will be happy to help you pick out just the right flowers to feed your butterflies!

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