HOUSTON — Don't let those butterflies flutter by your garden and on down the road.
You can make them settle down to stay by planning your garden around their life cycle, says Nancy Greig, director of the Cockrell Butterfly Center in Houston.
Position your garden for maximum sunlight. Butterflies are attracted to plants that need direct sunlight to bloom and make nectar, which is the food for adult butterflies.
Choose plants that flower throughout the growing season or a variety of flowers that bloom sequentially. Try the following plants: azaleas, butterfly bush, lantanas, cosmos, French marigold, heliotrope, impatiens, zinnia, moss verbena, Egyptian star-cluster, New England aster, and coneflower.
Garden pesticides harm butterflies, so use predatory insects, insecticidal soap, or remove unwanted pests by hand.
In their caterpillar stage, butterflies prefer different plants which include: locust, kudzu, tick-trefoil, wisteria, borage, burdock, everlasting nettles, sunflower, thistle, wormwood, elm, poplar, willow, alfalfa, clover, vetch, milkweed, blueberry, cherry, dogwood, privet, sumac, and various seed grasses.
Butterflies need water, so provide a damp area or shallow puddles on flat stones. They'll perch and bask in the sun.