Butterflies, with their delicate wings and vibrant colors, bring beauty and enchantment to any garden in New England. These remarkable creatures not only add visual appeal but also play a crucial role in pollination. If you reside in the area, you have the opportunity to attract a diverse array of butterflies to your garden. By understanding the types of butterflies that frequent New England gardens and creating the right conditions, you can transform your garden into a haven for these enchanting insects.
Salt Box Nursery, located in Billerica, MA, offers a wide selection of plants that attract butterflies and cater to their specific needs. Here are some of the butterflies and plants native to our region:
- Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus): Known for its iconic orange and black wings, the monarch butterfly is a cherished visitor in gardens across Western Mass. Monarchs undertake an incredible migration each year, traveling thousands of miles between their breeding grounds in the Northeast and their overwintering sites in Mexico. Milkweed plants (Asclepias spp.), available at Salt Box Nursery, are vital for the survival of monarchs, as they are the exclusive host plant for their larvae.
- Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus): The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is one of the most common butterflies in the Eastern United States, including Western Mass. Males display striking yellow wings with black stripes, while females have a broader range of colors, including black and blue accents. They are attracted to a variety of nectar-rich flowers, such as butterfly bush (Buddleja spp.), phlox (Phlox spp.), and coneflowers (Echinacea spp.), all of which can be found at Salt Box Nursery.
- Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui): The painted lady is a migratory butterfly found in many parts of the world, including New England. Its wings feature a mix of orange, brown, and black patterns. This butterfly has a wide range of host plants for its larvae, including thistles (Cirsium spp.), mallows (Malva spp.), and sunflowers (Helianthus spp.), which can be obtained at Salt Box Nursery.
- Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes): The black swallowtail is a stunning butterfly with black wings adorned with yellow spots and striking blue markings. This species lays its eggs on plants from the carrot family, such as parsley (Petroselinum crispum), dill (Anethum graveolens), and fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), all of which are available at Salt Box Nursery. Nectar-rich flowers like zinnias (Zinnia spp.) and marigolds (Tagetes spp.) will attract adult black swallowtails.
Creating a Butterfly-Friendly Garden:
- Visit Salt Box Nursery: Salt Box Nursery in Billerica, MA, offers a wide range of plants specifically selected to attract butterflies native to our area. Their knowledgeable staff can assist you in choosing the right plants for your garden.
- Provide Larval Host Plants: Butterflies have specific host plants on which they lay their eggs, and the caterpillars feed exclusively on these plants. Salt Box Nursery provides a variety of host plants such as milkweed, parsley, thistles, and sunflowers that are essential for the survival of butterfly larvae.
- Plant Nectar-Rich Flowers: Adult butterflies rely on nectar as their primary food source. Salt Box Nursery offers a diverse selection of flowering plants that bloom throughout the growing season, providing a continuous supply of nectar for butterflies.