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Inexpensive Butterfly Garden

Question:

I would love to have a butterfly garden with perennials. I live in an area that received mostly direct sunlight. I would also like to do this very inexpensively. I would love to read some ideas.

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Thanks!
Mindy

Answer:

Mindy,

A butterfly garden with perennials can be created inexpensively-especially starting the perennials from seeds indoors or seeking out cuttings from friends and neighbors. It's important to remember that not all butterflies are attracted to the same types of trees, shrubs and plants. Before planting anything, check with your local county extension agency, library or the regional section of a nearby bookstore to find out which types of butterflies are native to your area. Make sure the site you select receives 5-6 hours of sun daily and provides the butterflies with some type of wind break (tall plants, a trellis, the side of a building, trees, etc.) Provide a place to sun bask (flat, light-colored rocks work well) and a source of mineral water (like a pie tin filled with wet sand).

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You'll need to provide host plants for the larvae (caterpillars) and nectar plants for the adults (butterflies) all season long. A diverse mix of trees, shrubs and native and cultivated plants works best. Also, consider offering small pieces of fruit to supplement their diet. Here are examples of perennials that have successfully attracted butterflies:

aster, azalea, bee balm, butterfly bush, butterfly weed, clover, cone flower, coreopsis, daisies, dianthus, goldenrod, ironwood, Joe-Pye weed, lavender, lilac, lupine, milkweed, mint, passion flower, pincushion flower, sage, salvia, sunflower, thistle, tickseed, verbena, violet, yarrow.

- Ellen Brown

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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July 21, 20050 found this helpful

You can start a perennial garden for free if you ask friends, neighbors for extra plants after they divide theirs. Usually you just need a very small clump to get started, then wait. You might have to wait for the following year or even two for the plants to really look nice, but if you get some new plants each year it will progress nicely.

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Or shop clearance sales on perennials, as long as they're alive, don't have to be flowring or pretty, they will grow in your garden & come back in spring beautifully.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 288 Posts
July 21, 20050 found this helpful

Try Zinnia, hollyhock ,cosmos,and other flower seeds,. Zinnias are a wonderful flower for butterflys.And they love sun. If you have a friend/neighbor that has a butterfly bush, ask for a cutting.They come in several colors. Mine had been grafted white ,orchid and deep purple all on one tree.I payed $5.00 for it from an ad in a magizine.I threw out seeds that were from 1995in 2003 and just let them fall.Watered every day for 14 days and up a whole garden of flowers came.Including some pumpkins.

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Good luck. GG Vi

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 288 Posts
July 22, 20051 found this helpful

Mindy, I sure messed up. I see that you said perennials. Seeds are fast and they will re-seed themselves. But perennials can be bought in 6 packs and 4 inch pots. It is those that will give you a chance to see what will grow in your area best & cheapest.GG Vi

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July 27, 20050 found this helpful

hi~~I have coneflowers (I think that's what they're called) and the butterflies just love them and they come up every year. hope this helps.

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