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Butterflies and Hummingbirds – Nature’s Winged Wonders

Butterflies and hummingbirds are just a few of the attractions that become backyard fare when the right plant materials are part of any landscape.

Butterflies

Butterflies bring smiles to all who see the whimsical wisps of colors in flight. Attracted only to flowers with nectar, these brilliant marvels of nature can see colors that range from ultraviolet to red on the extreme end of the spectrum. The most successful butterfly gardens are lush with plants that appeal to specific species.

The Giant Swallowtail, for example, is one of the country's largest butterflies and loves the California climates. Dressed in a black suit with bright yellow markings, this showy butterfly comes with a gold-tipped tear-drop at the bottom of each wing. The adaptive flitter, a fabulous garden jewel with a wing spread that can reach six inches, is attracted to several easy-to-grow plants, such as azalea, bougainvilla and lantana, a hardy and salt-tolerant shrub.

Butterflies emerge from caterpillars, which are often mistaken for garden pests because they dine on plant leaves. Garden enthusiasts who choose to attack the “problem” with commercial pesticides and insecticides kill the developing butterflies. Almost without exception, plants that the caterpillars feed on quickly sprout new leaves, so the bare spots are temporary.

To nurture a successful butterfly garden, establish the area as a “no spray zone.” The butterflies will reward you with splashes of nature’s handiwork, and you will make an incomparable contribution to the environment that supports all life.

Hummingbirds

By happy happenstance, gardeners discover hummingbirds love some of the same favorites of the butterfly kingdom, such as nectar-laden red and purple blossoms. The tiny aerodynamic marvels stretch their menu choices to include orange, pink and blue. Because hummingbirds are attracted to such a wide range of flowering ground covers, vines, shrubs and even hanging plants, your gardens can be showy displays of brilliant blooms in an array of colors and plant varieties.

Native plants are fabulous additions to any garden. They are attractive to wildlife and need little care. Natives are naturally resistant to pest infestations, require little water beyond natural rainfall and enhance any landscape or garden.

There are no rules for planting hummingbird haunts, and gardens can be as creative as the gardener. We suggest choosing plants that throw showy blooms, add clusters of species instead of random plantings and choose items that need little care and maintenance. Some charming and brilliantly colored native plants can also be used as accents – scarlet monkey flowers, hedge nettles in the shady areas, native columbines and snapdragons.

My Botanica is a premier source of environmentally sensitive products and pest control options for gardens and landscapes. Our team of professionals welcomes the opportunity to answer your questions, provide information to help you create a nature-friendly garden and choose the best products for your landscape and garden projects. Please call toll free 1-888-722-4308.