Nectar plants are flowering plants that produce nectar. Butterflies are attracted to these plants to drink nectar. Many nectar plants feed hummingbirds as well as butterflies. (Visit this link for a list of pages on this site that gives growing information about various nectar plants.)
Nectar plants should be added to a butterfly garden. When you plan your garden, consider the time of the year that the plant will bloom. If you plant only fall-blooming plants, spring and summer butterflies will leave your garden to find flower nectar. If you plant only spring and summer bloomers, butterflies will leave your garden in the fall to find food.
Not all flowering plants are nectar plants. Of course every plant in your yard doesn’t need to be a host or nectar plant. Enjoy adding plants that please you for their beauty alone.
If you wish to know which nectar plants to purchase or grow in your butterfly garden, you can discover which species of plants are best through several methods. First, you can ask people who are successful butterfly gardeners or butterfly professionals. Second, you should read butterfly books. Third, you can conduct research on the internet. Use caution on the internet. Many websites are written and have incorrect or inaccurate information. Fourth, visit a local nursery and watch wild butterflies at the nursery. They aren’t trained! The flowers they visit are the ones that attracted them in your area. Fifth, visiting and asking questions at butterfly exhibits can give you great information. Please be aware that many of the plants grown in butterfly exhibits will not grow well in your yard. Many are rain-forest plants. In addition, butterflies in a confined area may nectar from plants that they wouldn’t visit in the wild.
In time you will discover which nectar plants are favored by butterflies in your area.
Remember to leave spaces for annuals. Early emerging and early arriving butterflies may not find nectar in a garden if the perennial plants haven’t begun to bloom. Annuals often bloom earlier than perennials, especially if they are purchased blooming or ready to bloom.
Always consider thorns if children or animals play in the yard. Golden Dewdrop is a wonderful nectar plant. Some varieties of this plant are thorn-less while a few varieties have thorns.
If someone in your family or a neighbor has serious allergies to bee and wasp stings, some nectar plants are best avoided. There are some species of nectar plants that are especially inviting to bees and wasps. As much as we enjoy having these pollinators in our gardens, when a life can be in danger, they should be avoided.
Host plants make the home for butterflies. Nectar plants make the dining area.