|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:
Buddleia davidii – Butterfly Bush
Widely available in different container sizes. Excellent butterfly attractor.
‘Blue Chip’ (groundcover)
Cephalanthus occidentalis – Button 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:
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 acerifolium – Maple Leaf Viburnum
Somewhat scarce in most production houses. No producers listed in MNLA Directory. Possibly available from smaller growers and some native plant producers.
Liriodendron tulipfera – Tulip 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.