In 1966, singer/songwriter Bob Lind had a hit song: “Elusive Butterfly.” Yup, he was talking about the elusive butterfly of love. But real butterflies can be right under your nose and you might not even realize it.
Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. Look close at some of your flower heads and herbs — you may discover elusive butterflies that you’ve never noticed before.
Pretty Milkweed has flowers that are a butterfly magnet – and milkweed flowers come in many colors to choose from. It’s also a perennial so it’s a “win win” situation. I planted Milkweed two seasons ago and every year the monarchs go crazy for it — my plant was loaded with them! Be aware though, that like many plants, Milkweed is toxic to pets, so if you have pets, keep them away from it.
Did you know that butterflies love many herb flowers? They love Coneflowers (echinacea) as shown in the above photo, as well as basil and parsley. Parsley can be a host plant for butterflies. Here in Northern Virginia, parsley stands a good chance of making it through the winter – and it’s always still around in time to garnish the holiday turkey! Both you and the butterflies can benefit from this versatile herb.
Do you have flowers on your fennel and dill plants? Check them out to see if Swallowtail butterflies are checking in! Fennel and dill grow well side by side, double bang for your butterfly buck.
Balms are another butterfly favorite. Monarchs particularly are fond of bee balm, and the glorious red or pink flowers that emerge in fall will add a pop of color to your garden when most flowers are winding down. Want to attract an assortment of butterflies? Different balms will attract different types of butterflies, so planting a variety of balms will provide you with a parade of butterflies.
Bottom line: Pay close attention to your herbs and other plants, particularly if they are flowering. DON’T pinch/deadhead the plants and you may discover a whole new world of beautiful butterflies within your grasp.
The best things in life are truly free and butterflies are one of them!