Many city areas can become perfect environments for butterflies, especially parks, gardens, school playgrounds, cemeteries and roadsides. All these places can become true havens for butterflies, even in the most densely urbanized areas.
As with natural habitats, it is important to preserve a high level of plant diversity and to minimize the use of pesticides and fertilizers.
Parks can be made more butterfly-friendly quite easily by allowing grass to grow freely in certain areas, plus butterfly-feeding plants can be used. It is generally useful to mostly plant nectar producing plants, preferably native ones.
An example of this is the Butterfly Havens in Brighton, England. Here, areas of a school garden were sown with wildflowers and since then this garden has been colonized by 25 species of butterflies, providing a beautiful and educational experience for children.
One of the easiest ways to help butterflies is to make our home garden as attractive as possible to bugs. The main aspect we have to take care of is to provide nectar for adult butterflies, especially for hibernating ones such as Aglais Urticae and Aglais Io.
Unfortunately, many of the varieties of garden flowers used, to date, have been selected for their appearance rather than their nectar production, which is why we are listing good nectariferous plants (for different seasons) for butterflies here below.
- Hyacinthoides non-scripta
- Iberis sempervirens
- Hesperis matronalis
- Myosotis (Forget-me-nots)
- Annual phlox
- Centranthus ruber
- Succisa pratensis (devil’s bit)
- Knautia arvensis (field scabious)
- Eupatorium cannabinum (hemp-agrimony)
- Sedum spectabile
- Aster amellus (european michaelmas daisy)
Beware of Buddleja! It's one of those plants every butterfly lover would want in their garden (after all, its common name is "butterfly tree"), but it is not a native species and is very invasive.
A good practice is to remove the inflorescences once they have faded so as to avoid seed dispersal, but it is also worth considering other plants, many of which are equally popular among our winged friends, examples of which are field scabious and succisa pratensis.