Flowering Trees - An Invitation for Butterflies
If you'd like to attract more butterflies to your property, one way to do that is with flowering trees. There are lots of flowering plants that attract butterflies, but flowering trees also offer this benefit, plus you'll be getting the benefit of long-lasting trees that will shade your yard and increase the value of your property.
When compared to delicate plants, trees offer the butterflies a more protective environment. They can still get their nourishment from trees and have a safe place for their caterpillars. In addition, the butterflies will have a better way to protect themselves from bad weather and a day and night perch that is out of reach of most predators.
There are three types of trees that are known for their ability to host butterflies. Consider mixing and matching to attract a wide array of butterfly species. You may find dozens of species calling just one of these trees home:
You can't go wrong no matter what type of oak you choose to plant as long as it is a flowering variety. The California Sister (Adelpha californica) and the many hairstreak and duskywing species are all native to the area and will happily make their home in an oak tree. There are several varieties of oaks that present themselves as shrubs instead of trees, which can further vary your landscape. These species include the California Shrub Oak, the Gambel Oak, and the Turkey Oak, all of which are flowering shrubs that will attract several species of butterflies and can offer many of the benefits that full-grown trees can.
Willows are excellent host trees for several reasons. For starters, they are known for their easily recognizable features, and they complement many types of landscapes. There are many sizes and shapes of willows, and they are hardy trees that grow fast, can tolerate most any soil type, and don't mind full sun. The butterflies that like willows best are the Viceroy (Limenitis archippus), Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa), Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax), Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), and the Lorquin's Admiral (Limenitis lorquini).
The Chokecherry Tree
The Prunus viginiana is found all over the U.S. and southern Canada, and it, too, is an excellent habitat for a wide range of butterfly species. Some of these include the Lorquin Admiral (Limenitis lorquini), the Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus)the Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), (Papilio multicaudata), the Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) and the Two-tailed Swallowtail. These butterflies use the Chokecherry as a host for their caterpillars and for nectar.
Remember that you can't attract butterflies that aren't there, so you need to plant flowering trees that attract butterflies native to your area! Do some research beforehand so you choose the correct tree, shrub and plant varieties. You can, of course, supplement your trees with flowering plants as well in order to create a multi-textured butterfly garden that will attract multiple species. Look for plants at a native plant nursery in your area for the best plants for your yard