Tag Archives: Butterfly Garden

Creating a Florida Butterfly Garden

14 Nov

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

 

God might just have designed things in our world to bring us pleasure – that it might have given Him pleasure to create such a diverse and interesting world of color and intricacy to point us to Himself!

I feel close to God when I am in my butterfly garden.

 

 

Anyone can create a welcoming haven for your local butterflies. It takes some planning, but the rewards are great! You can even attract butterflies in a small container garden on a porch.

 

 

Let’s start with finding out what zone you are at the link below.

http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

Each butterfly species has it’s own nectar flowers and host plant. Find out what your common butterflies are and what are their nectar flowers and what are their host plants. Some plants may not be possible for you to grow, so pick at least two species of butterflies that you can provide for it’s life cycle. For the Monarch, it’s nectar plant and it’s host plant is the same. The milkweed.

 

 

There are several kinds, but the most common is the tropical milkweed. It is not native or the best one, but it’s rare to find the swamp milkweed which is native. One advantage of the Tropical is that you can grow it from seeds or preferably cuttings. You will need a lot of it. The caterpillar is a voracious eater, capable of consumming an entire leaf in less than five minutes. They gain about 2700 times their own weight.

 

 

Here is a link to butterfly garden designs.

The location of your garden is important. It should be an area where no insecticides such as malathion, Sevin and diazinon will be used. Even benign insecticides are lethal to butterflies.

It should have some shade but mostly sun. Butterflies feed in the sun. They are cold blooded and need to warm up and dry out from the dew in the morning.

 

 

 

Try to choose plants that bloom at different times of the year for continuous flowers.

Here is a link below for butterfly nectar plants in Florida

http://www.nsis.org/butterfly/butterfly-plants-nectar.html

These are the plants I have had the most success with.

Milkweed, tall red Pentas, Mexican sunflower, Firebush, Firespike, Jatropha, Butterfly bush, blue Porterweed, coral Porterweed, Lantana, Salvia, Parsley, Dill, Plumbago

If you can, plant for each stage of the butterflies life.

Here are some fun pampering you can do for your butterflies

Make a puddler

 

 

Many species of butterflies congregate on wet sand and mud to partake in “puddling,” drinking water and extracting minerals from damp puddles. In many species, this “mud-puddling” behavior is restricted to the males, and studies have suggested that the nutrients collected may be provided as a nuptial gift during mating. It provides salts and minerals for egg making.

Fill a container or bird bath with play sand and add about 2 tablespoons of manure. Mix well and push to one side to leave an emply area for some tiny gravel and flat rocks. Pour enough water in to soak the sand, but don’t let water sit above the sand or the rocks.

Feed them a fruit treat. Some butterflies enjoy the sweet nectar that comes from fragrant fruit.

http://butterfly-lady.com/butterflies-and-fruit/

The cute butterfly houses you see with the slits in them are a nice decor, but the butterflies do not use them.

A group of butterflies is called a “Flutter” Often times you will see a female with more than one male following her scent. Eventually one will win and they will fall to the ground and connect the tips of their abdomen. The male will transfer his package of sperm. Sometimes they fly connected for a while. The female has about 100 eggs to deposit on her host plant.

 

 

She lays one egg at a time and each are fertilized as they pass by the sperm package. Only about 2 percent will survive. Ants, wasps and other pests will devour most eggs and caterpillars.

 

 

Next week we will learn all about the Monarch butterfly. See ya then…

 

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody
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