Butterflies in the garden
It’s a site every garner loves; butterflies and moths fluttering around an array of plants. The summer and fall months are best for attracting these beauties. Most garners will even plant flowers and natural food sources near patios and widows so they can spot these flying wonders from inside their homes as well.
Many native perennials will work as a magnet to attract butterflies to your garden. From milkweed to zinnia to dill, all will serve as a stimulant for butterflies. However, when butterflies are ready to lay eggs, they can be pretty specific about finding a plant for their larvae to eat. The Swallowtail butterfly will dot the leaves with eggs and from summer to fall, you will then see those dots turn into black caterpillars.
When the black caterpillars eat, like any animal they begin to grow and change. They turn green and striped, and even shed their skin several times before they eventually become a pupa. A cocoon forms while the process of turning from the larvae caterpillar into a butterfly occurs.
Shortly after the butterfly or moth emerges, it will find a nectar plant to feed on. Later of course, it will start the cycle over again creating eggs and larvae of its own.
Be careful when spraying for insects around your garden. That pesky caterpillar you just sprayed might be a beautiful butterfly in hiding. With careful planning and planting, shrubs, bushes, and perennials can be the happy heaven to attract an array of butterflies.
For more information on caterpillars and butterflies please click here.