Butterfly Garden

How to attract these flying rainbows

Give a fluttery butterfly a sweet-smelling place to get a drink, and you'll have them as visitors to your potted plants. Even without a meadow, brightly- colored flowers in a sunny spot will draw visitors.

One or two pots may attract a couple of fly-bys, but you'll want to set out several together to really draw a crowd. Remember that colors like orange, red, and purple signal butterflies that nectar is waiting. Choose flowers with a strong smell. You want to draw them in with promises of riches. "Old fashioned" flowers usually smell better than new hybrids. Flat-shaped flowers are both food and furniture, as the butterflies can rest their wings while eating.

If you choose flowers which bloom one after another, your visitors can linger over a longer part of the season. To really give them a treat, set out a shallow bowl of water so they can get a drink when needed. Pesticides are always harmful to the flying jewels. Of course, you'll want to keep cats away - no one wants to eat when they might become a meal.

Some good flowers include:
Lantana, Lantana camara
Common Cosmos, Cosmos bipinnatus*
Black-Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta
Zinnia, Zinnia elegans*

*Easy to grow from seed.