Canon 40D 300mm
Food plants for Australian butterflies and caterpillars………….
The best way to attract butterflies to your garden is to plant the plants that the caterpillar stage of the butterflies in your area eat. Caterpillars are very specific about what they will and won’t eat, so female butterflies are equipped with an extremely good sense of smell in order that they can lay their eggs on the correct plant(s). It stands to reason then that having these plants in your garden will attract female butterflies from all around your area – some can even smell their host plant from several kilometres away!
You will also attract male butterflies into your garden by planting a butterfly host plant garden – after all the boys are always on the lookout for the girls.
There are a couple of things to remember when planting out and caring for your butterfly friendly plants. Don’t have then in a prime spot in your garden – remember the whole idea is that the leaves will be eaten by caterpillars! Secondly – don’t spray them with insecticides. Be careful with the amount of fertiliser you apply. Even that can affect a caterpillar’s sensitive constitution.
Not all the butterflies and moths listed below will fly in your area – a huge percentage of Australia’s butterflies and moths are found in the tropical rainforests in north Queensland (which is why we are here!). Best to check with your local nursery as to whether or not the plants are available/will grow in your area. Chances are that if conditions are conducive and the plants occur throughout your region, the butterflies and moths will also be there to take advantage of the food.
And while you’re at it – don’t forget butterflies need to eat to, so don’t forget to plant some flowers for nectar. Pentas or Ixora are good as they are multi-headed and have lots of nectar. Have fun!