Creating a butterfly garden can be as simple as picking plants to attract butterflies to your yard. However, if you want to take your butterfly garden a step further, you can turn it into a sanctuary. You’ll need to have a diverse plant selection that is popular to butterflies and a location that is conducive to their habitat.
The plants for a butterfly garden should be one of two things; a nectar plant, or a caterpillar food plant. Nectar plants are easy to find and have bright colorful flowers that will attract butterflies to the garden. The nectar plant will allow butterflies to pollinate, but they won’t lay their eggs. The caterpillar food plant does the opposite of the nectar plants. It doesn’t attract butterflies but it feeds caterpillars and encourages butterflies to lay their eggs in the garden.
Some of the best nectar plants for Texas are perennials, (they will come back every year.) Salvia, Rock Rose, Skullcaps, Fall aster, Milkweeds, Mistflowers, and Blackfoot daisy are great options. There are some nectar plant vines that look great if they are hanging along a fence or draping across a pergola; Crossvine and Native honeysuckle.
Passion vine, Flame acanthus, Coral honeysuckle, Milkweed, and Mexican plum are caterpillar food plants in Texas. These plants host the butterfly larva and will keep the butterflies coming back year after year to pollinate.
Knowing which plants to have in the butterfly garden is important, but the location is everything. Where you choose to plant can determine how long the butterflies will hang around. Providing shade, water and sun is the best way to keep butterflies in the garden. Butterflies need water in the form of dew, tiny puddles, and moist soil. Be sure not to oversaturate the garden with water, or the butterflies won’t lay their eggs.
Creating a butterfly garden that will keep butterflies returning year after year is easy to do. The right location, nectar, and caterpillar food plants are key to keep them around. Create a diverse butterfly garden full of trees, vines, shrubs, and perennials and share your butterfly garden with us on Round Rock Garden Center’s Facebook page. We can’t wait to see what you create.