Butterflying 101

Posted on May 31st, 2017

June 11, Van Wilgens will host our Kids Klub Butterfly Release event!  Ironically, we had just as many adults attending last year’s, as we did kids!  Gardeners love the world of beauty of butterflies!  Here’s an example of how you can cultivate your own.
Butterflies can be pretty delicate creatures but can also be very complex.  If the goal is to add butterflies to your garden, follow this simple approach:  attract them and then provide for them when they come.  This approach is what makes butterflies return season after season.
Many of my articles talk about attracting and luring butterflies into the landscape, which is easy by planting lots of their favorite nectar-rich flowers, then adding host plants to keep them and their juveniles around.  Adding coneflowers/Echinaceas/Rudbeckias to the perennial border is one way to attract Swallowtails and Painted Ladies.  Providing host plants like parsley and dill is a great to keep these two returning.  The butterflies will use the herbs as host plants to lay their eggs and provide for young caterpillars, repeating the cycle.  Just a note, when you find caterpillars in your garden, don’t panic, but analyze.  Are you seeing just a few or are you seeing dozens upon dozens?  A handful of caterpillars is often the sign of butterflies incognito.  Loads of caterpillars is usually a sign of pests like moths and flies.  Remember, some of the ugliest critters morph into beautiful butterflies!
Just like gardening, butterflying works best when you get involved.  Read up on your butterfly guests and plant diversity in your gardens.  Looking for great plants?  Look no further!  Look to us.  Its what Van Wilgens does best!