DIY: Plant a Butterfly Garden

By Kyrie Collins, Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock-Lone Tree Publisher June 7, 2017

Now that Mother's Day — the unofficial first day of planting — has passed, now is the perfect time to plan a butterfly garden with your kids! Dig in the dirt, plant flowers, and then wait to see who might stop by and visit this summer!

What You'll Need:

  • A sunny location sheltered from the wind
  • Flat dark stones where butterflies can sun themselves
  • A butterfly pond for water (you can even use a plastic lid from a butter dish)
  • Colorful flowers with sweet nectar

Douglas County is located in USDA Hardiness Zones 4b and 5a. Here are a few plants known to attract butterflies that should grow well in our region in full sun.

Butterfly Bush is a low-maintenance shrub featuring fragrant blue, purple, and white flowers that attract hummingbirds as well as butterflies. Be warned: It grows so well that some states have actually classified it as "invasive" and no longer allow it to be sold. If it gets too big, prune it back almost all the way to the ground in early spring.

Butterfly Weed is a species of milkweed that attracts Monarch butterflies in particular; butterflies drink its nectar and caterpillars eat its leaves.

Phlox has lovely clusters of red, pink, lavender, or white blooms that smell wonderful! Be warned: Phlox can be plagued by a disease called powdery mildew, so plant disease-resistant varieties.

Anise Hyssop and Purple Coneflower are both heat and drought tolerant, grow well in the same conditions, and look beautiful together. They will attract a variety of butterflies and will also look very nice in a vase on your kitchen counter.

Salvia and Lantana both come in a variety of colors from blue to orange, bloom all summer long, and are butterfly favorites. Be warned: Lantana should grow well here but will not survive the winter and will need to be replanted each year.

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