Butterflies Everywhere….

July 26 butterfly photos 012

Female Tiger Swallowtail feeding on  Rose of Sharon

butterfly

Zebra Swallowtail butterfly on Lantana

Zebra Swallowtail butterfly on Lantana

Confederate Jasmine is also tasty to butterflies.

Confederate Jasmine is a favorite of butterflies.

What a wonderful sensation to wander out into the butterfly garden and stand in the midst of dozens of butterflies flying around from flower to flower sipping nectar.

Tiger Swallowtails on Echinacea.

Tiger Swallowtails on Echinacea.

Zebra Swallowtail flying in to join the Tiger Swallowtail already on the Lantana.

Zebra Swallowtail flying in to join the Tiger Swallowtail already on the Lantana.

Sometimes four or five butterflies are all drinking from the same plant, shoulder to shoulder with the bumblebees.

butterflies

What joy to be a butterfly in July when all of the sweetest and most luscious flowers are blooming, waiting for you to land and drink their nectar.

July 26 butterfly photos 002

Butterfly Tree, or Glory tree, Butterfly Tree or Glory Tree  is covered in flowers from July to  September.  It attracts hordes of butterflies to the garden.

Butterfly Tree, or Glory Tree, is covered in flowers from July to September. It attracts hordes of butterflies to the garden.

July 26 butterfly photos 003

We have caterpillars fattening themselves up, getting ready to create a chrysalis and take a long nap.

Maybe it was the caterpillar, and not the deer, who munched the leaves of my pepper plants....

A Tobacco Hornworm, Manduca sexta, has devoured the leaves of this pepper plant.  It will become a Carolina Sphinx moth.

 We also have butterflies dancing in the air with their mates, and later laying eggs.

Spicebush Swallowtail on Parsley in mid-July

Spicebush Swallowtail on Parsley in mid-July

Male Tiger Swallowtail resting in a Crepe Myrtle tree.

Male Tiger Swallowtail resting in a Crepe Myrtle tree.

Mostly , the butterflies fly around enjoying the warm summer days and abundant blossoms. 

There is so much nectar to choose from!

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July 25 2013 garden and butterflies 009

More butterfly close up photos here    More butterfly and Bumble Bee photos here

Tiger Swallowtails on Echinacea, or Purple Coneflower

Tiger Swallowtails on Echinacea, or Purple Coneflower

If you want to attract butterflies to your garden, simply cultivate plants they enjoy. 

July 25 2013 garden and butterflies 004

These plants are in bloom now, late July, in Zone 7b in coastal Virginia, and attract huge numbers of butterflies:

Trees and Shrubs

Butterfly tree.  Can you spot 3 butterflies on it?

Butterfly tree. Can you spot 3 butterflies on it?

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Buddleia, Butterfly bush.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Buddleia, Butterfly bush.

 

 

Buddleia davidii  Butterfly Bush a shrubby bush in which comes in many different cultivars, from small to very tall.  Choose from white, red, various shades of purple from light to dark, and pink and yellow or orange mixtures.  Tiny flowers grow in long panicles which attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Blooms last from late June into September.  Deciduous.  Cut back hard in late winter to only a foot or so high to control size and encourage blooming.  Blooms only on new wood.

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Butterfly Tree is generally covered in butterflies all day enjoying its white flowers.

Clerodendrum trichotomum Butterfly Tree is a small tree which attracts huge numbers of butterflies when it is in blooms.  Many small white blooms grow together in a large cluster.  After they are pollinated, the flowers change into another beautiful flower like construction with the brightly colored berry in the center.  Deciduous

Vitex agnus-castus Chaste Tree is a small shrub or tree covered in long panicles of purple flowers.  It looks much like butterfly bush, and can be cut back hard in winter to renew growth.  Blooms only on new wood.

Crepe Myrtle is a favorite tree for butterflies and birds.

Crepe Myrtle is a favorite tree for butterflies and birds.

 

Lagerstroemia indica   Crepe Myrtle is a shrub or tree, depending on the cultivar you choose.  It comes in white, lavendar, and various shade of light pink to very dark pink.  It is often a multi-stemmed tree, sends out numerous suckers, and has beautiful bark.  Bloom season lasts from July into September.  Prune in winter to remove seed pods, thin, and to control size.  Blooms only on new wood.  Deciduous.

Hibiscus Syriacus  Rose of Sharon Large shrub covered in large single or double flowers mid-June through September.

Hydrangea paniculata  Pee Gee  Hydrangea is a large shrub which produces large panicles of white, or very light pink or very light green flowers.  Loved by butterflies,

A Hydranges paniculata growing in my friends' garden.

A Hydranges paniculata growing in my friends’ garden.

 

 

Annuals and Perennials

Rose Mallow is a hardy Hibiscus much loved by butterflies and bees.

Rose Mallow is a hardy Hibiscus much loved by butterflies and bees.

Hibiscus moscheutos Rose Mallow (annual) Huge white, pink, or red flowers open for a few hours each day and attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.  Long stems begin growing  from an ever expanding clump in late spring, reaching a height up to six feet.  Each stem bears a number of buds.  Each bud lasts only a day or so, opening and closing with the sun,but the plant blooms over a period of several weeks.

Tiger Swallowtail on a Zinnia

Tiger Swallowtail on a Zinnia

Tiger Swallowtail on Monarda.

Tiger Swallowtail on Monarda.

Penta lanceolata (annual)  Bright clusters of flowers in white, pink, red, or purple.

Pentas

Pentas

Echinacea purpurea Purple Cone Flower  (perennial) Butterflies love the native Purple Coneflower.  Many hybrid cultivars are available in many different colors and forms.  They aren’t as hardy and reliable as the species.

Butterflies on Joe Pye Weed in a friend's garden

Butterflies on Joe Pye Weed in a friend’s garden

Eutrochium species Joe Pye Weed
provides nectar and also is an important host plant for eggs and caterpillars.  Butterflies find this plant irresistible, and each plant will be covered in butterflies in season.

Lantana species (tender perennial)

Bee Balm Monarda  species (perennial)

Four O’Clocks Mirabilis jalapa (annual)

Rudbekia species Black Eyed Susans (perennial)

Verbena species, both annual and perennial

Zinnia species (annual)

Host Plants for raising butterflies:  Various hard wood trees are favored for laying eggs.  Caterpillars like to eat parsley, dill, fennel, Joe Pye Weed, as well as leaves of some trees.

All photos by Woodland Gnome

July 26 butterfly photos 011

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

3 responses to “Butterflies Everywhere….

  1. Anonymous

    I didn’t see milkweed listed as the only food source for Monarch larvae. Milkweed has not unattractive red and yellow flowers for your betterfly garden as well. And, milkweed is inexpensive and plentiful.

  2. Pingback: Butterfly Bush | Find Me A Cure

  3. Pingback: Late Summer Purple Haze | Forest Garden

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