Florida Butterfly Gardening
Passionflower has been one of my favorite plants for a long time now. I grew passionflowers as houseplants when I lived in Iowa, and before that when I lived in Minnesota. It seemed only natural once I came to Florida that I’d finally let them grow to their full potential and grow them outside.
I started with a collection of about a dozen or so. When I moved into my house here in Florida, my passionflowers were
The butterflies came -- even though there were no flowers in my Florida yard -- because passionflowers are host plants for their caterpillars. This means that passionflowers are the only plants Zebra Longwing butterflies will lay their eggs on. Over the next few months, I saw more and more butterflies. Now I’ve enjoyed a consistent kaleidoscope of Zebra Longwings every day for the past couple of years.
If you want to enjoy butterflies like I do, use these tips.
Focus on Host Plants
If there are specific butterflies you want to attract, do a little research and see what host plants they prefer. Some, like Monarchs and Zebra Longwings, are pretty specific (making it easier to attract them). Other butterfly species have a wider range of host plants.
Plant Some Flowers
Host plants are the surefire way to get butterflies to come and lay eggs. But planting some nectar-rich flowers will help the adult butterflies stick around. Some I've had good luck with here in Florida include pentas,
If you’re in a hot-summer climate, or it gets particularly dry where you live, put out a birdbath or shallow pan filled with sand and water. This gives the butterflies a safe place to land and easily take a drink.