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Gardening with Dr. Orvis.

Dear Dr. Orvis:

My class entered a butterfly garden competition. Do you have any tips on (that kind of) gardening? We will take as many tips as we can get. We have a few plants that attracted butterflies. We are also ordering caterpillars called painted ladies.

Thank you! Megan Troske Oviedo, Florida

Dear Megan:

Butterfly gardening can be a lot of fun and a good way to learn about plants and insects. You will want to cultivate the types of plants that the butterflies like to eat. Most butterflies drink the nectar produced by the flower, but the caterpillars also need to eat the leaves. Some of butterflies' favorite plants are: scabiosa, butterfly weed, milkweed, cosmos, zinnias, bee balm, coneflower, black-eyed Susan, daisies, catmint, violets, and sedum. Make sure to provide the butterflies with a source of water.

Also, when caring for your garden, use caution with any herbicides or pesticides, as these chemicals will kill the butterflies. Here is a Web site that has information about butterflies and butterfly gardening.


The Junior Master Gardening [C] Program is an international youth gardening program of the University Cooperative Extension network. Be a part of JMG@ and cultivate youth and communities through gardening. Call toll free 888-JMG-Kids or visit us at
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Publication:U.S. Kids
Article Type:Brief article
Date:May 1, 2006
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