Plants that bring in the butterflies
If you’d like to entice a bevy of beautiful British butterflies into your garden this summer, all you need to do is plant some of their favourite flowers - ideally long and tubular and rich in nectar.
The following plants are available in store now and are a great start to creating a butterfly friendly garden.
Planted in a warm sunny position, a Buddleja can attract and sustain up to 22 native species of butterflies. Often perceived as a tall and rangy plant, more compact varieties are available for containers which is great news for smaller gardens. They favour a well-drained, alkaline soil and love a dry sunny spot. With bold, conical clusters of blooms they’re a joyful sight in August when not much else is in flower. Don’t be afraid to prune them quite aggressively in Spring as this will maintain their vigour and prevent them from getting leggy.
Displaying gorgeous bottle-brush shaped blooms throughout the summer, Hebes are much-loved by our butterfly friends. Planted in a sunny, sheltered spot with well-drained soil these dome-shaped evergreen shrubs can grow to around 3m high. They don’t need feeding and dislike rich composts which will make their foliage to lush and tender. Prune them regularly in the late summer to stop them from becoming leggy.
If you’d love to feed the butterflies but don’t have the time or space for a bushy shrub, then you could always plant some wall flowers, especially ‘Bowles’s Mauve’. These hardy plants are saturated with scent and depending on the variety can flower from February until early autumn. Favouring lots of organic matter, they like a well-drained alkaline soil. Officially they are biennials (which grow fresh every other year) but a bushy plant could become perennial and appear year after year.