Butterfly Gardening and the Big Picture

Дата канвертавання27.04.2016
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Butterfly Gardening and the Big Picture
The big picture is what lies behind the basic formula for a butterfly garden: water, shelter, nectar plant and host plant. The environmental factors of each garden are important to successful butterfly gardening, but the surrounding ecology also plays a key role and is vital to the establishment of butterflies or other wildlife. With the following guidelines, perhaps rather than be the occasional visitors, the butterflies can become permanent residents.

Ecology and Environment:

What is a butterfly garden and what should it look like?
What is the purpose?
Biophysical properties – plants, water, shelter
Proper arrangement of plants – larval, host
Native Plants – what exactly are they?
Benefits of natives:

Appropriate host plant

About using natives:

What to know

How to select
Native species that work best for butterflies
Drawing them in – naturalizing your garden
Blending what butterflies need with what humans want

What about the weeds?

Urban Butterfly Gardens –is it possible?

Plants that work both ways – native plants with landscape beauty

Landscape problems turned into butterfly habitat:

The rain garden

Water runoff put to good use

Dry, poor soil

Plant Facts and Sources:
Nectar Plants

Buddleia davidiiButterfly Bush

Widely available in different container sizes. Excellent butterfly attractor.

(Buddleia cont’d)

Best cultivars:

‘White Profusion’

‘Nanho Purple’

‘Nanho Blue’

‘Black Knight’

Compact forms:


‘Purple Emperor’


‘White Ball’

‘Blue Chip’ (groundcover)

Cephalanthus occidentalisButton Bush

Found in native plant catalogues; naturally in Michigan in ditch areas and where wet ground is prevalent.

Syringa spp. – Lilac

Readily available in the trade as French hybrids (Syringa vulgaris cvs.); a dwarf form (not really very dwarf) is ‘Miss Kim’, (Syringa patula). Usually found in 3 gal. and 5 gal.

Popular cvs. are:

‘Yankee Doodle’

‘Royal Purple’


‘Ludwig Spaeth’

‘Katherine Havemeyer’

Viburnum lentago – Nannyberry

Available in many native plant collections. Locally available from producers such as Wild Types (Mason) in lg. and 3 gal sizes. Not as readily available as most of the genus.

Viburnum acerifoliumMaple Leaf Viburnum

Somewhat scarce in most production houses. No producers listed in MNLA Directory. Possibly available from smaller growers and some native plant producers.

Host Plants

Liriodendron tulipferaTulip Tree

This beautiful tree hosts Eastern Tiger Swallowtails. Available in containers (5 gal) to B&B specimen size, as well as bare root.


Prunus serotina – Black Cherry

Naturally occurring tree in Michigan. May be found in native plant collections. Host plant for Tiger Swallowtail and Coral Hairstreak.

Cornus florida – Flowering Dogwood

Naturally occurring in white flowering form. Available readily in the trade in containers, B&B or bare root. Host for Spring and Summer Azure butterflies.

Sassafrass albidum – Sassafrass Tree

Native tree found everywhere in Michigan. Host for Spicebush Swallowtail. Not usually available in commercial production; may be found in native plant collections. Lg. or 5 gal containers.

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