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Butterfly Gardens

 

Gardening for butterflies and pollinators is both fun and educational. Butterflies and pollinators are easy to watch and easy to identify.  Did you know the Maryland State Insect is a butterfly…the Baltimore Checkerspot?  Maryland is home to more than 150 species of butterflies and skippers, ranging in size from the large, showy Giant Swallowtail to the tiny Eastern Tailed-Blue.

migratingbutterflies

 

A butterfly garden can be any size, from a window box to a portion of your landscaped yard to a wild, untended area. You can include native plants, cultivated species, or both. It needs to be located in an area that gets a full day of sun. Butterflies are “solar powered” and need the sun to keep their wings warm!

monarchbutterfly Butterflies need to keep hydrated. They get moisture from sap and nectar, but they appreciate a wet spot in their habitat. A shallow dish filled with rocks and a bit of water or a damp area where the butterflies can grab a drink – called “puddling” – is ideal.

 

The diversity of plants is such that you can select plants based on the kinds of pollinators you wish to attract to your garden. There are flowers that predominantly attract hummingbirds, swallowtail butterflies and some large moths, while others attract numerous bee species and yet others attract butterflies, moths and even flies and beetles. If your garden contains a good mix of such plants, it can be a lively and very interesting place indeed (and don’t worry about the bees…they will be too busy collecting nectar and pollen to sting).

monarchcatapiller

 

 

 

Suggested Plants that attract butterflies

(and other pollinators):

Shrubs and Perennials:

Asters

Azaleas
Bee Balm

Black Eyed Susans

Blueberries

Butterfly Bush

Coneflower

Goldenrod

Joe Pye Weed

Liatris

Milkweed

Phlox

Sedum

 

milkweed

Annuals/Bedding Flowers:

Ageratum

Bachelor Button

Cosmos

Dianthus

Helitrope

Lantana

Marigolds

Pentas

Zinnias


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MONARCH BUTTERFLY CONSERVATION

Each fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to overwintering areas in Mexico and California where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight in the spring. The monarch migration is truly one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, yet it is threatened by habitat loss in North America. Without food – milkweeds and nectar sources – Monarch butterflies cannot make the long journey to their winter homes in Mexico.

 

These native habitat are declining due to development and the widespread use of herbicides in croplands, pastures and roadsides. The use of herbicides and frequent mowing along our roadsides has converted much of this common habitat to grasslands – lacking in food and shelter for wildlife.

 

Unfortunately, the remaining milkweed habitats are not sufficient to sustain large monarch populations.

 

 

 

 

Monarchs need our help!

 Ee need to create, conserve, and protect milkweed/monarch habitats. You can help these amazing butterflies by creating “Monarch Waystations” (monarch habitats) in home gardens, at schools, businesses, parks, zoos, nature centers, along roadsides, and on other unused plots of land. Below is a list of milkweed and other nectar rich plants that can be easily incorporated into your landscape.

 

By creating and maintaining a Monarch Waystation you are contributing to monarch conservation.

MILKWEED

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

 

GENERAL NECTAR PLANTS

Indian Blanket

Purple Coneflower
Joe Pye Weed
Scarlet Sage
Mexican Sunflower
Zinnia, Dahlia Mix

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BUTTERFLY AND POLLINATOR GARDENS IN MARYLAND:

www.abnativeplants.com www.monarchwatch.org www.monarchjointventure.org

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