Attracting butterflies to your garden is a rewarding way to foster a healthy population of beneficial insects. The arrival of the graceful, multicolored beauties in your yard is evidence that by providing habitat and eliminating the use of chemical sprays, nature can restore balance to itself. Drought tolerant native plants are beneficial for species-specific native butterflies that depend on just one or a few types of plants as larval hosts.
Choosing your style—If a natural, “wild garden” is your style, incorporating a mix of butterfly host and nectar plants makes perfect sense. You can enjoy the beauty and grace of adult butterflies flitting throughout the yard, while also experiencing the fascinating wonder of the early larval and chrysalis stages. A varied mix of native grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees not only attracts a host of butterflies and other native wildlife, it can also provide wonderful opportunities for you to create an interesting array of native micro-habitats in your yard. Of course, if your tastes don’t fully embrace the “natural pruning” provided by our native caterpillars, you may wish to designate a less conspicuous area of your yard for butterfly host plants. And you can always ease into this. Any Southern California garden can benefit from even a few butterfly-friendly plants.
Finding help—There are plenty of resources available offering help creating a Southern California native butterfly garden. Check out the websites of our region’s best native plant nurseries: Las Pilitas Nursery, Tree of Life Nursery, and Moosa Creek Nursery. Download the Tree of Life’s excellent Butterfly Gardening Flyer.