BIRDS & BUTTERFLIES
Planting a bird and/or butterfly garden is relatively easy (even in this climate,) and very rewarding.
Things to remember when planting a bird and/or butterfly garden:
- Pick a sunny location. Most of the plant varieties will take full sun. All will need partial sun for bloom and/or berry production.
- Choose combinations that will provide food, nectar, and protection on a year-round basis (or as close as possible.) There will be times when the garden will provide only 1 or 2 out of these 3.
- Make sure there is a water source in the area, primarily in the summer, for the birds
- Insects are a major part of birds’ diets (including hummingbirds,) so the more insecticide you spray, the fewer insects there are for your feathered friends to eat.
Plant selection is very important, and depends on what you want to attract.
To attract butterflies – You will want to plant larval plants and nectar plants. Keep in mind the larval plants are meant to be eaten, so don’t be upset if you see them decimated.
- Some examples of larval plants are: dill, fennel, parsley, ornamental grasses, and passion flowers.
- Some examples of nectar plants are: Ageratum, Asclepias, Buddleia, Caesalpinia, Calliandra, Dyssodia, Erigeron, Lantana, and Vitex
- When your garden may not be blooming for nectar, you can make a simple butterfly feeder. All you need is a paper plate and ripe bananas, pineapple, and/or apples!
To attract birds (other than hummingbirds) – Sparrow, Cardinals, Blue Jays, and others like nut, fruit, and berry producing plants. Many of us don’t want to give up our stone fruits like peaches, plums or apples to the birds, in which case try pineapple guava or something else that you don’t like to eat. However, larger fruit trees also provide some shade and protection during the summer.
- Some examples of berry plants are: Pyracantha, Holly, Eleagnus, Wolfberry, and Sunflowers.
- Finches like smaller seeded plants like Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Mexican Hat, Tithonia, and any type of thistle.
You can always supplement with feeders to keep your friends happy!