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Listed below are some of the public gardens you may visit in North Carolina that have butterfly gardens or habitats:
•North Carolina Zoological Park, Asheboro
•Magic Wings, Museum of Life and Science, Durham
•Roper Mountain Science Center’s Butterfly Garden, Greenville
I hope you enjoy your butterfly garden. A good website for more information is: http://butterflywebsite.com/. Below is a list of the Top 10 butterflies and host plants:
•American Lady: Everlasting, Pussytoes, Cudweeds (all are plants common to grassy areas and disturbed sites)
•Black Swallowtail: Parsley family (bronze, fennel, dill, parsley, carrots, Queen Anne’s lace)
•Buckeye: Plantain, Snapdragons, Purple Gerardia
•Cloudless Sulphur: Wild Senna (Cassia sp.)
•Monarch: Milkweed family; especially Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) and Swamp
•Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
•Pearl Crescent: Aster species
•Red-Spotted Purple: Wild Cherry*, Willow*
•Silver-Spotted Skipper: Wild Cherry*, *Willow*
•Spicebush Swallowtail: Sassafras*, Spicebush*
•Tiger Swallowtail: Wild Cherry, *Tulip Poplar*
*Trees in butterfly gardens are best kept closely cropped, both to keep them from shading out the flowers and to make it easier to find caterpillars on them.
Following is the Top 10 easy-to-grow, sun-loving plants recommended as excellent nectar sources for adult butterflies in our area:
•Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta and other Rudbeckia species)
•Butterfly Bush (Buddleia sp.; not native)
•Cardinal Flower (Lobelia Cardinalis)
•Goldenrods (Solidago sp.)
•Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis)
•Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
•Milkweeds (especially Butterflyweed [Asclepias tuberosa] and Swamp Milkweed
•Ox-Eye Daisy (Leucanthemum valgare; formerly Chrysanthemum leucanthemum)
•Purple Coneflower (Echinaecea purpurea)
•Verbena (Verbena hastata and various other species)
It will be to your benefit to plant native plants as they are adapted to local conditions and usually require less maintenance (consult local nurseries for their availability). They are also more likely to be resistant to local pest populations.
The Extension Master Gardeners’ Volunteer Hot Line has additional information available on butterflies. We will be happy to provide this information upon your request.
Send your gardening questions or comments to: Brunswick County Master Gardener Column, P.O. Box 109, Bolivia, NC 28422, or call 253-2610. Enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope if requesting information or a reply. Answers may be printed in this column.