Summer is the time to plant lots of flowers and we won't have to worry about winter destroying our gardens at least for this year. So how about turning your gardens into butterfly gardens. The butterflies are out there and just waiting for you to invite them in.
Here in Florida we have about 100 species of colorful butterflies. We even have a state butterfly called the zebra longwing which is quite common and we see many of them in our yard.
I'm sure you all know that a butterfly starts off as a caterpillar....goes through 4 stages of it's life.....egg, larva and chrysalis from which emerges the butterfly. An adult butterfly has a very short life span which can be as short as a few weeks and some only a few days.
Butterflies get nectar from different sources. They are attracted to brightly colored flowers and they like ones that are easy to land on and take off from. Good flower choices for the nectar they would like are marigolds, zinnias, lantana, red salvia, black eyed Susan, Mexican Sunflower, pentas, verbena, butterfly bush and shrimp plant. There are even a few weeds and of course wildflowers that butterflies are also attracted to.
And.....some butterflies, if you can believe this, are even attracted to strange things like rotting fruit, manures or plain old mud.
When you are outside in your yard spend a little time to see what butterflies may be flying through, get good descriptions and then try to identify . You can get a butterfly book or go online and check out Florida butterflies to see what they look like and what flowers they would enjoy. Then you can plant those flowers that will keep them around. Some butterflies, like our state butterfly, prefer herbs like dill and parsley, Monarchs like milkweed and the swallowtail likes passion vine.
A few other flowers to consider are firespike, bird of paradise, cannas, roses and flamingo plant. You never know who's going to be flying in.........