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Attracting Butterflies and Moths

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I'm always looking for new ways to attract these beautiful creatures into my small city garden. I already have Ivy, Lavenders, Honesty, Pansies, Primroses, Verbena Bonariensis, Sweet Rocket, Buddleia, Daisies, Sedum, Oregano and Thyme and this year I'm adding Cuckooflower, Garlic Mustard and Lady's Bedstraw. I draw the line at Dandelions and Nettles (sorry) and Buckthorn, Hop and Holly are out of the question. I can't let my lawn path 'go wild' so I'm going to sow some grass seed in an old window box which is about 60cmx15cm in the hope of encouraging some to breed. I'd be interested to hear what other ideas members have found successful.

  • Views: 1067
  • Replies: 6
  • Posted: Sun. 6th April 2008 20:23

What about trying Milkweeds

Reply from Cris

Hi there

I remember as a child we use to spend most weekends walking in nature reserves, many of which had fields of milkweeds. They are really cool as later in the season their little pods sort of hatch open and reveals a clump of soft, silky cotton like threads with tiny seeds attached.
Milkweed (Asclepias) grows well in Britain. There are a few different types:
A. incarnata -aka Swamp Milkweed
Growing to approx. 4' in swamps, wet thickets and on shores. Is fairly adaptable to different soil types.
A. speciosa -aka Showy Milkweed
Growing to approx. 2.5' on prairies in sandy and loamy, usually moist soils.
A. syriaca - aka Common Milkweed
Growing to approx. 3' in thickets, roadsides, dry fields and waste places.
A. tuberosa - aka Pleurisy Root
Growing to 2ft in dry, open soils.

The monarch larvae feed on milkweed and it also attracts other butterflies and moths so this is another good one to have. Hope you like it.
Crissy

  • Posted: Mon. 7th April 2008 17:22

What about trying Milkweeds

Reply from Georgie

Oh they look lovely, Crissy. Thanks for that.

Carole

  • Posted: Mon. 7th April 2008 21:08

Attracting Butterflies and Moths

Reply from Marissa Zoppellini

Hi Carole

You must have some very satisfied butterfly and moth customers visiting your garden! I would add Honeysuckle, Evening primrose and Nicotiana to your list, all of which I am sure you would enjoy as much as the wildlife!

All the best
Marissa

  • Posted: Tue. 8th April 2008 10:36

Attracting Butterflies and Months

Reply from Georgie

Hi Marissa. Thanks for your suggestions. I already grow Evening Primrose - I simply adore the fragrance - and someone gave a me a Honeysuckle cutting a while back so that's lucky, because I didn't know it attracted Butterflies. I didn't grow any Nicotiana last year but this year I'm trying a variety called Affinis White, which is more managable at 60cm than most of the Nicotianas. I grew Syvestris once and that reached about 150cm even in 30cm pots! Carole

  • Posted: Wed. 9th April 2008 16:47

A few useful links

Reply from Kathy C

I, too, derive great joy from seeing butterflies and moths in the garden. When I lived in the States, I had an acre of land to garden with, and took great delight in planting many varieties to attract as much wildlife as I could (except I sometimes wished the rabbits would go elsewhere!!). I even used to get hummingbirds attracted to pink ivy geranium - and that was in New Jersey! In addition to some of the plants you use, I found success with Monarda, Agastache (and there are so many lovely species to choose from) and Hyssop. Swallowtail butterflies would lay eggs on my fennel and the vibrantly-striped caterpillars would feast on the leaves for weeks (unless the birds got them). Apparently, swallowtail are not as common in the UK, but they are out there so you might want to give fennel a try - and it has great structure, too.
Here's a great link I found that has an extensive list of plants to attract butterflies and moths:

http://www.englishplants.co.uk/bflies.html

Another good one is:
http://www.englishplants.co.uk/bflies.html


Happy planting!
Kathy C

  • Posted: Tue. 8th April 2008 10:59

A few useful links

Reply from Georgie

Thanks for those, Kathy. I grow Agastache and Hyssop but I didn't have much joy with Monarda as the slugs and sails seemed to love it. :( I've grown Bronze Fennel in the past which I found attracted hoverflies and funnily enough I collected some ordinary Fennel seeds last year -they accidently fell into my pocket when I was visiting a garden! I'll let you know if I get any swallowtails. Carole

  • Posted: Wed. 9th April 2008 16:33