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Outdoor Plant of the Month – Plants to attract Butterflies to your Garden
Butterflies are one of prettiest visitors to our gardens and important pollinators.
Butterflies will visit a garden, however small, if there is a source of nectar for them to feed from, and a well thought out garden with a range of nectar rich plants can attract a wide variety of species.
To entice Butterflies to your garden it is important to provide the right flowers throughout the butterfly season, March to October. Spring flowers are vital for butterflies coming out of hibernation and Autumn flowers help butterflies build up their reserves for winter.
Caring for your plants and shrubs will ensure that the Butterflies food source is at its best. Deadheading flowers will prolong the flowering period. Mulching and weeding round plants so they don’t have to compete for water and keeping your plants well-watered in hot, dry weather will mean plants produce far more nectar for hungry Butterflies.
It’s all in the planning! Butterflies like to be warm so choose sunny, sheltered spots when planting your butterfly-friendly, nectar rich plants. Make it easier for Butterflies to refuel without having to fly far, plant in large blocks so they can happily flit from one plant to the next. Adult butterflies feed on nectar from a wide variety of wild and garden flowers, here are some of their favourites that are in flower now;
For an a more comprehensive list of plants for attracting butterflies to your garden, please see pages 11-15 of our Attracting Wildlife to your Garden Leaflet
The Big Butterfly Count 19th July – 11th August
Butterflies are extremely valuable indicators of the state of the environment, they react quickly to change which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators, Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses.
In 2010 The Big Butterfly Count was launched, a nationwide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment through the recording of butterflies. The Big Butterfly Count encourages people to spot and record 17 species of common butterflies and two day-flying moths during three weeks of high summer.
Take part in this nationwide survey and help Butterfly Conservation revive the countryside.
Visit www.butterfly-conservation.org to find out more about Butterfly Conservation and their work.