How do I grow a butterfly garden?

Planting nectar plants will attract butterflies to your yard, but you can easily create a habitat where they'll stay and live out their entire life cycle. The key is to provide both host plants, which are a food source for caterpillars before they turn into butterflies and nectar plants for after they emerge.

Locate your butterfly garden where it is protected from wind, making egg-laying less challenging, and pesticides. A sunny location is preferable, but not required.

Provide host plants, which include milkweed, hollyhock, parsley, dill, fennel, passion vine, wild cherry, Queen Anne's lace, passion vine, and false or stinging nettle.

The female butterfly will lay her eggs on or near the host plant, which will then serve as a food source for emerging caterpillars. Caterpillars may strip a plant bare of leaves, but they rarely kill it, so simply cut the plant back to the ground. New growth will appear.

After about a two-week metamorphosis, butterflies emerge from their cocoon to search for nectar plants, such as butterfly weed, phlox, lantana, salvia, cosmos, verbena, petunia and zinnia, to name just a few. Milkweed serves as both host and nectar plant.

Now that you've provided them an abundant food source, make sure they have water and flat sunning stones so they can bask in the sun.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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