If you love butterflies, consider creating a butterfly garden. Plant flowering plants -- your local nursery can suggest the native flowers that are favored by the butterflies in your region -- and you will be rewarded with visits from these colorful, lively creatures. The plants in your butterfly garden benefit the butterflies, too. The flowers provide both nectar and larval hosts for butterflies. The photos below will help inspire your own ideas for your butterfly garden.
Dahlias are not only beautiful, colorful flowers -- when planted in a habitat garden, they can attract peacock butterflies. Dahlias are multicolor annual flowers. Planting native flowers is not only good for your garden, it's good for the environment -- the plants offer food sources for the birds and butterflies whose natural food supplies may be scarce in built-up areas.
A careless-looking mix of grasses and perennial wildflowers provides both nectar and larval hosts for several species of butterfly in this butterfly garden. Butterflies seem to especially enjoy feeding from the multitude of tiny florets found in the center of compound daisy-like flowers; examples include these purple and white Echinacea purpurea coneflowers, gray-headed Ratibida pinnata coneflowers, and Rudbeckia hirta black-eyed Susans blooming here.
Flowers aren't the only colorful things in a butterfly garden. In this habitat garden, a monarch butterfly flocks to an orange lantana plant. The lantana plant is a full sun annual plant. Different butterfly species exhibit different meal preferences. Monarch butterflies seem to also love feeding on liatris, while wild lupines in sandy Eastern areas sometimes provide nectar for the rare Karner blue butterfly.
A butterfly stops to take a sip of nectar from a few daylilies. Daylilies are popular multicolor perennial flowers and a great addition to a butterfly garden. A great idea for your butterfly garden is to plant a variety of native nectar plants in a border or bed. Do some research to find the best plants for the butterflies of your region -- butterflies are more likely to come and sample the nectar of familiar flowers that are a natural part of their habitat.
A wildlife garden combines environments to attract wildlife of many kinds. Learn more about this wonderful habitat garden idea in the next section.