With their splash of colour and movement, butterflies are among the
most welcome visitors to our garden. Even the smallest garden can be
an important haven. Garden flowers are a valuable source of nectar -
the main energy source for butterflies and one that has been
drastically reduced in the countryside in recent years.
Any garden can make a real difference to butterflies - the number
and variety of butterflies visiting your garden will depend on partly
where you live, but any garden can be made attractive to them.
Butterflies favour spots that are warm and sheltered so garden layout
is important. A good garden will be full of colourful flowers and have
a wide range providing nectar for the adults from spring to autumn.
The caterpillars of the butterflies, unlike adults, feed on one or
more specific plants. For example several of our common garden
butterflies lay their eggs on nettles; only the Large and Small White
caterpillars will eat your cabbages.
Flowers that attract butterflies
The plants in the list below are arranged approximately by
flowering times going through successive rows from left to right: thus
Aubretia flowers from April to May, Ivy from October to December. With
a careful choice of plants you can attract butterflies throughout the
Foodplants for caterpillars
Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell:
||Dogwood, Holly, Ivy
||Alder Buckthorn, Purging
||Birdsfoot Trefoil, Black
||Arabis, Honesty, Garlic
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