Real World Gardener Butterfly Gardening part 1

March 20th, 2021

 BUTTERFLY GARDENING

Part 1: First Things First-what plants and how do they know which to land on?

Are you bemoaning the lack of butterflies in your garden?

Would you love to have more butterflies visit your garden, no matter how small or big it is?
Did you know that butterflies look for specific food plants or that they have a preferred temperature to flit about in?

The Monarch butterfly (pictured below)  was in my garden on buddleia bush 'Black Knight'  
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Steve mentions a good read  on the subject of butterflies is a book co-authored by Helen Schwencke, 

Create More Butterflies: a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants for south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Some plant suggestions to get those winged beauties into your garden are:
  • Native senna cultivars are high on the list of plants that attract butterflies.
  • Blunt-leaf Senna there (Senna gaudichaudii), but there’s also the corky milk vine (Secamone elliptica) and emu foot, (Cullen tenax) a trailing native plea vine.
  • Think also about the native finger lime, great for container planting.
  • A lot of native butterflies will be drawn to your garden if you have the right flowers for them at the right time of the year.
The further you go south, the butterfly visits will be more seasonal.
  • Migrating butterflies are driven by the season's, wind direction and amount of rainfall.
Their preferred temperature range is between 23-27 degrees Centigrade.
How  do they find what they need?
 
The  antenna (mainly on males) is used to detect what food is available and if other male butterflies are present.
Females, however, can also use their feet. Chemoreceptors on their legs help them to choose their food plants.
 

Let’s find out more
I'm talking with  Steve McGrane, horticulturist, ecological agriculturist and garden writer.

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