How to attract Butterflies
Butterflies have lost a lot of habitat . They like a sunny location with low brushy growth. Butterflies need bright sunshine to warm their bodies. They love flowers too, and feed from the nectar with a funny mouth part called a proboscis( it is like their tongue). I think it would be great to set up a butterfly garden with your hummingbird garden..Different types of butterflies like different types of plants . All butterflies need water too especially when it is hot. They can even drink from damp ground.
So if your ready for your butterfly garden, keep these things in mind. Butterflies need sunlight, their body has to be warmed by the sun to about 82 degrees to fly. Butterflies like a sheltered area with not much wind since they are delicate and can be blown around a bit. They need close access to shady areas too in the middle of the summer when it gets very hot so they don't get overheated. They love nectar like hummingbirds do. Pick plants that bloom at different times so that there is nectar available in the spring summer and fall. Fruit trees help too, lots of butterflies like rotting fruit. You can even put out those rotting bananas that you forgot to eat, this works like a charm. They also love watermelon, pears,and peaches.
My Best Butterfly plants
Butterfly Bush- A must have!!!!!!!, Works better than any plant we have in our yard. It comes in yellow and purple
Butterfly weed- another must have!!!!
coneflower-another charm, the butterflies in my yard with drink here over all other plants I have when they are in bloom
Asters- another perennial that works great.
lavender- seems to be favored by my cabbage whites
globe thistle - I love this one too
You should consider planyting some catepillar foods too, like parsely , dill, milkweed, nettle, violets, spicebush, hackberry,turtlehead and pipevine
Fun Butterfly Facts
Butterflies help as much as bees in pollination
Many butterflies have a lot of black to help them soak up sunlight.
The color on a butterflies wings comes from hundreds of different color scales.
You can tell a moth from a butterfly by the the knob on the end of a butterflies antennae. Moths don't have these
Butterflies can see, smell and taste. They use their feet to taste and antennae to smell!!!
Some butterflies are poisonous and these are usually very colorful ones. The poison comes from the food it ate when it was a caterpillar. The Monarch Butterfly is poisonous. Other butterflies mimic the patterns of poisonous butterflies because birds stay away from them.
The South American rain forest has more butterflies than any place else in the world
ature Eye Notes
You need to look for butterflies on bright sunny days usually when the temperature is above 55 degrees. Calm days with no wind are best. Edges of fields, backyard wildflower gardens , parks are all great places. Butterflies are most active after the sun has warmed them enough and are active all day as long as it is not too hot like the middle of a July day.
Butterflies I have seen in my NJ Yard
As with all my images just click on it to see it bigger
The Angel wing Group
These butterflies are named this because of the shape of their wings
Question Mark Butterfly
beleive it or not when this butterfly closes its wings it looks like the colors of a dead leaf
The Swallowtail Group
These butterflies like spicebush, milkweed and clover. They are found in the eastern United States and Canada, they like wooded areas meadows and gardens. They love my cornflower too.
An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
These are found in all eastern forests. The caterpillars eat cherry and tulip tree.. This one was sitting on our mulch which my Mom had just watered. It was a bright sunny day. There were three in all and I could get really close. They are very fond of my butterfly bush, liatris ,coneflower and globe thistle
These butterflies are small only about 1-11/2 inches, They are found all over the United states and parts of Canada. They like asters and thistle, and even like to land on my Mom's toe
The Whites Group
Female White Cabbage Butterfly
These butterflies like the mustard family of plants
The Blues Group
Eastern Tailed Blue
It was very tiny about 1/2 inch big across it's wings. They are from the Blue family of butterflies. The eastern tailed blue has small orange spots at the base of its lower wing.
The Skipper Group
These butterflies are from the family of skippers. They are small and are usually colored orange to brown. The dart about the garden very fast. They are really something between a moth and a butterfly. Here one is drinking from a cornflower and the other resting on autumn sedum.
Silver Spotted Skipper
Drinking nectar from a butterfly bush
The Fritillaries Group
This group needs violets for their larva. They grow wild here where I live and thrive in the shade. .The name means "Dice Box" , they are named this because of the orange and black spotted pattern they all have. The adults sip from many nectar plants
The Hairstreak Group
All of these group have a orange or red spot at their tail. This is for protection of this tiny butterfly. It is suppose to look like a head. So if they are attacked their tail will be bitten and not their real head.
A Gray Hairstreak
It is hard to see but notice the two small dots at the tail
Red Banded Hairstreak
These small butterflies are more common in the southern United States , I believe NJ is the farthest north they go
The Milkweed Butterfly Group
This is the first Monarch I saw this year, 8/4/99. It was drinking from my cornflower mostly.They love gardens with a mass of blooms.( Like mine now:)..) they love goldenrod asters and thistle These butterflies need Milkweed for their larva to grow. They are poisonous butterflies and many mimic their patterns . Monarchs migrate to Mexico for the winter.
They were eating my apple tree leaves , I believe they may be from the skipper family if anyone knows please let me know
Thank you Scott Kinzie an Indiana State Nursery Inspector for helping me identify this one. It is a moth and is called a Yellow Necked Catepillar. Thanks again for your help!
Red spotted Purple
This butterfly mimics the pipevine swallowtail which is very bad tasting to birds
Satyrs Butterfly Group
The catepillars of this group feed on grasses try letting a part of your yard just grow.
Common Wood Nymph
Help Identify this little Guy!!!!!!!
This little butterfly was very tiny only about a 1/3 of an inch . It was drinking nectar from my Mom's oregano
American Painted Lady
Notice the two eye spots on undersurface of it's wings
The hummingbird moth
Many people think these moths are baby hummingbirds, they hover like hummingbirds drinking nectar