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butterfly-garden.txt

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Butterfly Gardening This Guide outlines planting schemes and arrangements that will help attract butterflies to a garden area. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dale T. Lindgren, Horticulture Stephen M. Spomer, Entomology Amy Greving, Horticulture -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * Butterfly Anatomy and Life Cycle * Commonly Attracted Butterflies in Nebraska * Attracting
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   Butterfly GardeningThis Guide outlines planting schemes and arrangements that will help attractbutterflies to a garden area.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dale T. Lindgren, HorticultureStephen M. Spomer, EntomologyAmy Greving, Horticulture--------------------------------------------------------------------------------* Butterfly Anatomy and Life Cycle* Commonly Attracted Butterflies in Nebraska* Attracting Butterflies* List of Plants to Attract Butterflies* Additional ReadingButterflies can be found in almost any part of Nebraska, from the Pine Ridge'sconiferous forests and across the grasslands of the Sandhills to the deciduousforests along the Missouri River. Watching butterflies, much like bird watchingor observing wildflowers has become a popular and enjoyable pastime. Since manynatural butterfly habitats have been lost to urbanization and other development, some environmental organizations have incorporated butterfly conservation into their programs. Many people are taking a personal interest in attracting these fascinating insects to their gardens. By choosing the right plants, you can attract many different butterflies, adding a moveable mural of color to your landscape.Butterflies and moths belong to the insect order Lepidoptera. They are well-known for their beauty, may act as pollinators for some plants, and are a food source for certain animals. The presence or absence of butterflies is an indicator of the health of our environment.Butterfly Anatomy and Life CycleButterflies go through a four-stage developmental process known as metamorphosis (egg, larva or caterpillar, pupa or chrysalis, and adult). Understanding a butterfly's life cycle can make butterfly watching more enjoyable, and the knowledge is an important asset to people who want to understand the principles of attracting butterflies to their gardens.Depending on the species, the life cycle of a butterfly (one generation) may take anywhere from about one month to an entire year. Nebraska butterflies mayhave one, two, or more generations (broods) per year. Usually, the most commonbutterflies are multiple-brooded and provide a continuous array of color andactivity to your butterfly garden throughout the season.Commonly Attracted Butterflies Some of the most readily-attracted butterflies include: * Alfalfa Butterfly - Colias eurytheme Boisduval * American Painted Lady - Vanessa virginiensis (Drury) * Cabbage Butterfly - Pieris rapae (L.) * Checkered Skipper - Pyrgus communis Grote * Clouded Sulphur - Colias philodice Godart * Eastern Black Swallowtail - Papilio polyxenes asterius Stoll * Eastern Tailed Blue - Everes comyntas Godart * Gorgone Checkerspot - Chlosyne gorgone carlota (Reakirt)   * Gray Hairstreak - Stryman melinus H  bner * Great Spangled Fritillary - Speyeria cybele (Fabricius) * Monarch - Danaus plexippus (L.) * Painted Lady - Vanessa cardui (L.) * Pearl Crescent - Phyciodes tharos (Drury) * Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta (L.) * Sachem - Atolopedes campestris Boisduval * Spring Azure - Celastrina ladon (Cramer) * Tawny-edged Skipper - Polites themistocles (Latreille) * Tiger Swallowtail - Papilio glaucus (L.) * Variegated Fritillary - Euptoieta claudia (Cramer)Attracting ButterfliesAlthough plant selection and placement are the most effective methods to attract butterflies, site selection for a butterfly garden is also important. Butterflies like sunny sites and areas sheltered from high winds. Warm, sheltered sites are most needed in the spring and fall. Provide rocks or bricksfor pupation sites and for basking and warming in the sun.Butterflies require food plants for their larval stages and nectar plants forthe adult stage. Some larvae feed on specific host plants, while others willfeed on a variety of plants. If possible, include both larval host plants andadult nectar plants in your butterfly garden.Types of Plants to Attract ButterfliesPlants that attract butterflies are usually classified as those that are a foodsource, a nectar source, or both. Some of these plants will also provideprotection from predators, offer shelter, a place to lay eggs, and a place toattach chrysalides. It can be relatively simple to attract butterflies andstill have a garden that suits your tastes and needs. Nectar flowers and otherfavorite butterfly plants come in many forms--annuals, perennials, herbs,vines, grasses, shrubs, and trees. The plants can be native or non-native.If you just want to attract a few more butterflies than you have seen in pastyears, simply plant more of the nectar flowers commonly visited by adults. Ifyou want to attract many different species and you live in an urban or suburbanarea where there are few pasture or woodlands, you will need to add plants thatare a good source of food for butterfly larvae (caterpillars) as well. Includean assortment of plants for season-long bloom. The time of flowering, durationof bloom, flower color, and plant size are all important considerations whenselecting plants to attract butterflies.Many plants which attract butterflies, especially trees and shrubs, may alreadybe present in a specific area. Although weeds and some native plants aregenerally not welcome in a garden, allowing them to grow under supervision maybe an option, as these plants help attract butterflies. Try to avoid plantslike blue flax and grayhead prairie coneflower that readily reseed and may takeover and dominate garden sites.Plants with clusters of flowers are often better than plants with small, singleflowers because it is easier for butterflies to land on clustered and/or largerflowers. Planting in mass (several plants of the same kind) will usuallyattract more butterflies, as there is more nectar available to them at a singlestop. Select plants adapted to your site and location, and develop a plan forthe butterfly garden. Several books are available with butterfly garden plans.(For a sample plan, order the hard copy of this Guide. Check with your localExtension office.)  It is difficult to have a successful butterfly garden in locations whereinsecticides are used. Pesticides, specifically insecticides, can killbutterflies as well as a host of other useful insects. Even biologicalcontrols, such as BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) will kill butterfly larvae. Whentreating for insect pests, always consider non-chemical methods of pest controlbefore turning to pesticides.Plants that attract butterflies may also attract bees and wasps. Most bees andwasps, busy with their pollen and nectar collecting tasks, are not likely tosting if left undisturbed. However, if you are allergic to bee and wasp stings,be careful! Butterfly gardens may also attract other forms of wildlife, bothwanted and unwanted species.List of Plants to Attract Butterflies{L} = Larval Food Plants{N} = Nectar Plants(Refer to references [additional information] for flowering periods.)AnnualsAnnuals grow, flower, and complete their life cycle in one season. There is awide range of flower types, colors, growth habits, and heights to choose from.Removal of old flowers (deadheading) of annuals may be necessary to encouragecontinued blooming.Common annual flowers that attract butterflies include: * Ageratum - Ageratum houstonianum {N} * Broccoli - Brassica spp. {L} * Cabbage - Brassica spp. {L} * Common Sunflower - Helianthus annuus {L,N} * Cosmos - Cosmos spp. {N} * Fetid Marigold - Dyssodia papposa {L} * Globe Candytuft - Iberis umbellata {N} * Gomphrena - Gomphrena globosa {N} * Heliotrope - Heliotropium arborescens {N} * Lamb's Quarters - Chenopodium album {L} * Lantana - Lantana camara {N} * Marigold - Tagetes spp. {N} * Nasturtium - Tropaeolum spp. {N} * Nicotiana - Nicotiana alata {N} * Petunia - Petunia x hybrida {N} * Salvia - Salvia spp. {N} * Scabiosa - Scabiosa atropurpurea {N} * Snapdragon - Antirrhinum majus {L,N} * Statice - Limonium sinuatum {N} * Sunflower - Helianthus spp. {N} * Sweet Alyssum - Lobularia maritima {N} * Verbena - Verbena spp. {N} * Zinnia - Zinnia spp. {N}BiennialsBiennials form a rosette plant the first year, flower the second year, and thendie. Biennials to consider for use in butterfly gardens include: * Dame's Rocket - Hesperis matronalis {N} * Queen Anne's Lace - Daucus carota {L,N} * Thistle - Cirsium spp. {L,N}  HerbsHerbs are used for flavoring food. Butterflies are also attracted to them as anectar source as well as a larval food source. * Catnip - Nepeta cataria {N} * Chives - Allium schoenoprasum {N} * Dill - Anethum graveolens {L,N} * Lavender - Lavender angustifoliaa {N} * Mint - Mentha spp. {N} * Parsley - Petroselinum crispum {L,N} * Sweet Fennel - Foeniculum vulgare {L,N}ShrubsMost shrubs have a limited flower duration. However, they can provide good,short-term nectar sources, as well as butterfly habitats. * Butterfly Bush - Buddleia davidii {N} * Cinquefoil - Potentilla spp. {N} * Chokecherry - Prunus virginiana {L,N} * Cotoneaster - Cotoneaster spp. {N} * Lilac - Syringa spp. {N} * Mock Orange - Philadelphus spp. {N} * Privet - Ligustrum spp. {N} * Spirea - Spiraea spp. {N} * Viburnum - Viburnum spp. {N} * Wild Plum - Prunus americana {L,N}TreesTrees can serve a vital function as a larval food host, a nectar source, orprotection. * Birch - Betula spp. {L,N} * Cherry - Prunus spp. {L,N} * Cottonwood - Populus deltoides {L,N} * Elm - Ulmus spp. {L,N} * Hackberry - Celtis occidentalis {L,N} * Hawthorn - Crataegus spp. {N} * Linden (Basswood) - Tilia spp. {N} * Oak - Quercus spp. {L} * Plum - Prunus spp. {N} * Red Cedar - Juniperus virginiana {L} * Russian Olive - Elaeagnus angustifolia {N} * Willow - Salix spp. {L,N}Herbaceous PerennialsPerennial herbaceous plants are non-woody plants that live and flower for morethan 2 years. Some plants, like alfalfa and clover, may not be suitable for asmall flower garden, but they may be found or encouraged to grow in surroundingareas.Herbaceous perennials to consider include: * Alfalfa - Medicago sativa {L,N} * Aster - Aster spp. {L,N} * BeeBalm - Monarda spp. {N} * Blanketflower - Gaillardia spp. {N} * Butterfly Weed - Asclepias tuberosa {L,N} * Chrysanthemum - Chrysanthemum spp. (open-centered types) {N} * Clover - Melilotus spp., Trifolium spp. {L,N} * Coreopsis - Coreopsis spp. {N}
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