|This page was Last Edited on
12/16/2015 04:00 PM
As a frequent visitor of the
Butterfly Pavilion* not far
from my house, I became fascinated with the idea of having these lovely creatures take
refuge in my backyard. Outside the butterfly pavilion, is planted a garden designed to
attract butterflies. I resolve to plan a butterfly garden of my own.
|Before creating the garden, I
needed to research plants that both attract butterflies and that act as hosts for them.
I am particularly interested in discovering perennials suited for butterfly gardens. I
am sharing my research in the hopes that you will find it helpful.
|* When in the Denver area, be
sure to visit the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center, 104th and U.S. 36 in Westminster,
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 9am to 5pm. Call (303) 469-5441 for more information.
Butterflies All A Flitter
|The first point I discovered is
that before selecting plants it is important to understand the
life-cycle of butterflies.
Their short lives can be divided into these four stages:
- One: Eggs laid on host plants -- The egg is a
tiny, round, oval, or cylindrical object, usually with fine ribs and other microscopic
structures. The female attaches the egg to leaves, stems, or other objects, usually on or
near the intended caterpillar food.
- Two: Caterpillars feeding on host plants -- The
caterpillar (or larva) is the long, worm-like stage of the butterfly or moth. It often has
an interesting pattern of stripes or patches, and it may have spine-like hairs. It is the
feeding and growth stage. As it grows, it sheds its skin four or more times so as to
enclose its rapidly growing body. Caterpillars of some species feed on plants which
are usually considered weeds, and you can benefit populations of these species by not
removing all of the weeds.
- Three: Chrysalides hanging from leaves and branches
-- chrysalis (or pupa) is the transformation stage within which the caterpillar
tissues are broken down and the adult insect's structures are formed. The chrysalis of
most species is brown or green and blends into the background. Many species over-winter in
- Four: Adult butterflies feeding on nectar plants
-- The adult emerges from the chrysalis.
The key to an enjoyable butterfly
garden is to have plants available for each of the four life-cycles of the butterfly.
If you take the time to plan you will be rewarded with more butterfly guests.