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Attract beautiful butterflies
Planning ahead for the right plants to attract butterflies is a must when you want to enjoy these beautiful insects in your landscape. Butterflies are a welcome sight for many Texas gardeners and landscapers as they plan and often grow their gardens to make them irresistible to butterflies.
Butterfly gardening requires some knowledge of local butterfly species, flowers that are attractive to nectar-feeding adults and host plants for the developing caterpillars.
Marigolds, nasturtiums, zinnias, hollyhocks and daylilies are among the favorites of butterflies. Also, Texas Superstars are popular with the butterfly population including, Gold Star Esperanza, Flare Perennial Hibiscus, Texas Lilac Vitex and Lord Baltimore Perennial Hibiscus. The designation of a Texas Superstar is given only to the toughest, most reliable and best-looking plants that have stood up to years of field trials by Texas A&M University’s Agriculture Program. During the field trials, the plants receive minimal soil preparation, minimal water and no pesticides.
The following tips will help make your garden, backyard or landscaped area a haven for butterflies:
•Locate in a sunny area. Butterflies like direct sunlight and heat.
•Provide shelter by planting along a fence, hedge or building if wind is a problem.
•Avoid using chemical pesticides.
•Provide a warm resting spot by placing a board or a few flat stones around the garden.
•Fill a shallow saucer with water and sink it into the soil.
•Provide food plants for the caterpillar. These can include milkweed, thistle, clover, goldenrod and other natives in a spot where their invasive habits will not be a problem. Other menu favorites are carrots, dill, parsley and nasturtium. Choices for the annual border include marigolds, red salvia, zinnias, lantana, cosmos and impatiens.
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