Butterflies of Autumn

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.  ~Rabindranath Tagore

Monarch on a Tithonia

Monarch on a Tithonia

It’s autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, and migrating butterflies are on the move. Monarchs are probably the most famous lepidopteral nomads, but now’s a good time to see more than just monarchs. In my yard lately, I’m seeing monarchs, several types of sulphurs, black swallowtails, grey hairstreaks, and American painted ladies. In past years I’ve also seen plenty of common buckeyes and several kinds of skippers.

To attract butterflies to your autumn garden, be sure to have nectar plants for the adult butterflies and host plants for their caterpillars. Some good nectar sources for this time of year are goldenrod, tithonia, sedums, and Montauk daisies and other autumn-blooming composites, such as asters. Host plants include milkweed, New Jersey tea, and members of the carrot family such as parsley, fennel, and Queen Anne’s lace.

After this season winds down, I’ll put together more info on creating a butterfly garden so you can prepare for next season. In the meantime, check out Butterflies and Moths of North America. If you live outside North America, use your favorite search engine to search on “butterflies of [continent]”, where [continent] is the name of the continent you live on. And go out and enjoy the lovely fluttery beauties that are visiting your neighborhood!


3 responses to “Butterflies of Autumn

  1. Pingback:   Animals,Education,Nature,Uncategorized | Giving kids butterflies A project with purpose takes flight in a … — Recycle Email

  2. That looks like a great idea. I had quite a few butterflies this year but it’d be cool to start a garden. I do however have a worm phobia so I’d have to maybe put those plants closer to the alley 😉


  3. I have been surprised about how crazy the butterflies have been over some Mexican Hyssop that I planted in my driveway. It has been a huge hit with the butterflies and the hummingbirds. We had a freeze a couple of weeks ago and when it warmed, it started to bloom again. I have been really happy about the long bloom time and how those three plants have attracted some of my favorite wildlife.

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