Butterflies are a welcome sight for many Texas gardeners as they plan their gardens to make them irresistible to these winged visitors. With over 400 reported butterfly species in Texas, anyone can have a successful butterfly garden.
Creating a butterfly garden can be as simple as planting a windowsill box or as complex as landscaping many acres. It does require some knowledge of local butterfly species, flowers that are attractive to the adults and host plants for caterpillars.
Butterflies are looking for two things when they enter a garden: nectar, the food that adult butterflies need as an energy source for flight and egg production, and host plants, the place where the female will lay her eggs and the food that caterpillars need. The butterfly gardener‟s challenge is to provide a variety of plants.
Butterflies are most abundant from spring through fall, so plan your butterfly garden to provide blooming plants throughout the season. Include plants that flower into October and November to attract migrating butterflies such as monarchs, cloudless sulfurs and snout butterflies. Preferred nectar plants include lantana, butterfly bush, pentas, coreopsis, purple coneflower and liatris. Other favorites are aster, sunflower, plumbago, phlox, snapdragon, gaillardia, verbena, ageratum, cosmos, daylily, petunia, lobelia, sweet alyssum, impatiens and daisy.
Attracting butterflies brings beauty and enjoyment as well as a learning experience for you and your children along with additional butterfly habitat.
The butterfly garden at the DIG includes plants that support the entire life cycle of butterfly species found in Brazos County. Spring and Fall are prime viewing times for butterflies and the garden has a comfortable bench for observation. The following plants were selected for this area to provide food for caterpillars, shelter for the chrysalis and nectar for mature butterflies.