Posted By: Michelle Kuehler /
Who doesn’t enjoy the beauty of butterflies and the adorableness of hummingbirds? These beautiful, flitting creatures are great pollinators too. The theory behind attracting them is simple; give them the resources they need and the flowers they like and they will visit your garden often.
Butterflies are gorgeous as adults but to build a garden that will be truly nourishing for a butterfly habitat, you must be willing to deal with a little destruction as well. Unlike adult butterflies which feed on nectar, caterpillars prefer the leaves of plants. If you are willing to put up with some destruction in return for happy healthy butterflies, do a little research to find out what species live in your area and their favorite host plants. Different species of adult butterflies also have a preference for their nectar but seem to enjoy plants with bright colors. Try planting asters, azalea, bee balm, blueberry, butterfly bush, butterfly weed, coneflower, goldenrod, Impatiens, lilac, marigolds, verbena and yarrow. Make sure never to use pesticides on plants meant for butterfly consumption. Instead, try using Grow Big 521, which strengthens plants against pests and diseases.
You may also want to add a birdbath or provide your new friends with a dish of water. Make sure the water depth is low or that they are able to perch over the water so they do not drown.
Butterflies need a shelter for protection against harsh weather and to roost during the evening. Large-leaved plants and shrubs with dense foliage provide a great harbor for butterflies. Most butterflies also hibernate during the winter. Most hibernate under houses and logs but you can try adding a butterfly house in the woodiest area of your garden and see if any of these little guys move in.
Some hummingbird follow a feeding route, some feed randomly and others will choose a feeding spot as their home. Many flowers attract hummingbirds but there are a few flower characteristics that they look for in finding their new home or feeding spot.
Hummingbirds look for flower blossoms full of the sugar-rich nectar they use for fuel. Hummingbirds also seem to love the color red because they can spot it from long distances. This is the reason hummingbird feeders are usually red. Plant patches of red flowers to catch their attention. The last aspect of flowers that attract hummingbirds is shape. A hummingbird’s beak is made for tubular flowers like foxglove and salvia. These little guys have a high metabolism, requiring a lot of food, so they also enjoy clusters of plants so they can get the most from their visit. Flowers that hang above or over foliage are also a plus for hummingbirds on the go as they often hover while feeding. Again, do not use pesticides on plants intended for consumption by hummingbirds. A few varieties to try are hummingbird trumpet, azaleas and gladiolus.
Hummingbirds will also come to a feeder, especially when plants are not in bloom. As with butterflies, hummingbirds need a source of water, such as a shallow birdbath, but they also love sprinklers and love to flit in and out of the mist. Also, include some trees and shrubs near their favorite flowers for them to perch and relax.
To attract both hummingbirds and butterflies, plant a large variety of flowers, ranging in color and provide them with adequate water and shelter. Give them what they want and need and soon your garden will be teaming with beautiful fluttering creatures.