Planter’s Row: Butterflies Are Beautiful Pollinators

By Jessica Pittman,
Clemson Extension

Butterflies are beautiful pollinators seen from early spring through frost that are referred to as “jewels of the sky” or “flying flowers.”  When butterflies visit a garden, they are searching for nectar and a host plant for the female to lay eggs on.  
They like flowers that have large, flat petals or clusters of short tubular flowers that produce nectar.
They’re often attracted to pink, red, purple, yellow or orange and prefer areas with large masses of a single color, or closely related colors, over a garden consisting of many colors.  Some suggested flowers for attracting more butterflies in your garden are shasta daisies, lantana, sunflowers, verbena, marigolds and zinnias; they are also attracted to certain trees and shrubs such as blueberries, buckeyes, plums and pears.  Butterflies do not only eat nectar, they scavenge wet sand and mud for minerals, which is called puddling.   Butterflies are intricate; from their nose being located in their feet to their use of ultraviolet light when finding a mate.  
For information on how you can get more butterflies to visit your garden, contact your local Extension office at 843-774-8218 or browse through our online publications at www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic.
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Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

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