Attracting Hummingbirds, Butterflies & Pollinators

Hummingbird

Planting a few nectar- and pollen-rich flowers can turn your landscape into a haven for hummingbirds and butterflies.

The most important step you can take is to plant a pollinator-friendly garden. Choose nectar and pollen-rich plants like wildflowers and old-fashioned varieties of flowers. A succession of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs is best so nectar and pollen will be available throughout the growing season. Also, include plants like dill, fennel and milkweed that butterfly larvae feed on.

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and interesting creatures on Earth. By planting a butterfly garden with all of the right kinds of plants and flowers that butterflies love to feed on and lay eggs upon, you will certainly have a yard full of butterflies throughout the growing season. Butterfly gardens can be any size – a window box, part of your landscaped yard, or even a wild untended area on your property.

Butterfly Host Plants are important when you create your butterfly garden to provide a site for the butterfly to lay eggs and also food source for the emerging caterpillar. Be prepared for heavy munching on your host plants!

 

Because tiny caterpillars cannot travel far to find their own food, the female butterfly locates and lays her eggs on only the type of plant that the caterpillar can use as food. Most species of caterpillars are particular about the type of plants they can eat. If the egg was not placed on the correct plant, the caterpillar hatching from that egg will not survive. Many gardeners do not like to see plants in their gardens that have been chewed on by bugs. To avoid this, you may want to locate your butterfly host plants in areas that are not highly visible, but still a short distance from the butterfly nectar plants. If you do not provide host plants, you will have fewer butterflies.

Many native trees and other plants found in and around our yards are host plants for caterpillars. There are a variety of plants that can be included in a butterfly garden that are excellent host plants. Caterpillars of the monarch butterfly feed only on milkweed plants (Asclepias spp.), so be sure to include some to support the monarch’s entire life cycle by providing nectar through the entire garden season.  Spring flowering trees and shrubs that provide nectar early in the season include serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), redbud (Cercis canadensis), flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), and pussy willow (Salix discolor). Some mid-season shrubs include leadplant (Amorpha canescans), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), and weigela. Butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.) has long been a popular butterfly-attracting plant. 

Give low maintenance perennials a try to add color and food to your garden visitors. Coreopsis, catmint, agastache, beebalm, daylilies, and salvia just to mention as few of the many plants we grow at Metzger Landscaping. With proper planning, good plant selection and minimal maintenance you can create an area that will not only attract butterflies and hummingbirds, but will help to preserve these important and beautiful insects that are so vital to our ecosystem. Check out Metzger Landscaping’s Garden Center, where you can find a huge greenhouse full of perennials to help attract butterflies, hummingbirds and pollinators of all kinds to your yard this summer.

 

Written by metzgerlandscaping

Leesa Metzger, Owner and Landscape Designer for Metzger Landscaping & Design, North Manchester, Indiana

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