Prepare now to attract butterflies, hummingbirds to spring garden

Prepare now to attract butterflies, hummingbirds to spring garden
It may be cold or dreary now, but in a few months gardens all over Virginia will be bright and lively again—and hopefully full of butterflies and hummingbirds. By establishing specific plants, you can create a garden space that’s attractive to both creatures.

Horticulturalist Mark Viette of Augusta County said planting a garden to attract hummingbirds and butterflies is easy, and he recommends selecting more than one variety of plant that appeals to them.

“Out of all the plants you can plant, the No. 1 plant that will attract more hummingbirds than anything else is salvia, Black and Blue,” he said. “The plant will start blooming late in the season. In very cold areas, you should bring it inside during the winter and protect it.”

Butterfly bushes are known for attracting butterflies, and Viette cited a variety called White Profusion. “In a lot of research, it was found the white form of the bush attracts more butterflies and hummingbirds than the other types,” he explained.

Another plant that will attract hummingbirds and butterflies is plumbago, a hardy perennial. Additionally, fall-blooming varieties of aster, and summer-blooming phlox will draw winged visitors and will last almost until the first frost. They also will attract carpenter bees.

“All of these are great plants to incorporate throughout the garden,” Viette said. “It’s important to note that hummingbirds tend to be territorial, so you want lots of these plants in the garden so that there are a lot of food sources for these wildlife.”

Focus on planting long (10 or 20 feet), narrow flower beds, Viette recommended. “Butterflies like to travel up and down the same plant when it’s in full bloom.”

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