Butterfly Garden

Asked October 30, 2019, 12:39 PM EDT

I live in Davidsonville. Most of my property is woods with a lot of deer. I want to establish a butterfly garden. Please advise a good planting time for the following plants and if these plants are deer resistant. Butterfly bushes Milkweed Lavender Lilac Black-eyed susans Any other recommendations would be most appreciated. These plants will generally be in direct sun. Thank you.

Anne Arundel County Maryland wildlife plant selection butterflies native butterfly garden

1 Response

None of the plants you list are deer favorites, but the butterfly bushes are virtually deer proof. Deer also avoid lavender and some milkweeds.

We would not encourage going overboard with the butterfly bushes, since they are not native and can become invasive (invading natural areas and parks, excluding native plants). The more bushes you plant, the more invasive they can become.

The native milkweeds are best. Natives, in general, are the best choices since our butterflies evolved dependent upon what species were here. Be sure to provide (and be ready to tolerate) the munching of their caterpillars, since no caterpillars equals no butterflies. Avoid pesticides, naturally.

Here's a good page about establishing a butterfly garden: https://onslow.ces.ncsu.edu/2016/08/building-a-butterfly-garden/

There are many lists of suitable plants online, as you probably know. Since you have a lot of woods (and shade?), sunlight will be crucial to your site selection. Select plants accordingly.

Ellen