By Megan Williams
We’ve been busy rejuvenating the Butterfly Habitat Garden at the Adelaide Sustainability Centre. Join us in improving urban biodiversity by planting some butterfly-friendly plants in your garden.
Why attract butterflies?
Butterflies and other insects are integral to the health of urban biodiversity. They rely on flowers for nectar and help to pollinate plants. Gardens can provide habitat for butterflies and create wildlife corridors which link conservation sites, parks and bushland. This helps butterflies survive by increasing available habitat and resilience.
Why is biodiversity important?
Biodiversity is important for healthy ecosystems which help plants, animals, insects and humans thrive. Pants and gardens can cool cities and reduce air pollution. Green spaces create a more pleasant urban environment, encourage people to spend more time outdoors and improve mental health.
What do butterflies need?
The best way to increase butterfly numbers is to provide habitat for them at all life stages. Adult butterflies need plants with flowers which produce nectar. Given the choice between native and exotic plants, butterflies prefer native species. Some butterflies are very fussy eaters and rely on one or two nectar plants for survival. Butterflies need food throughout the year, so choose a range of species that flower at different times of year.
What about caterpillars?
If you want butterflies, you have to put up with caterpillars! Butterflies will only lay their eggs on plants which provide food for caterpillars. Each species has its own preference. By planting a range of plant species native to your suburb, you can attract a variety of butterflies to your garden.
What can I do?
- Use plants native to your suburb
- Plant species that are a rage of heights
- Use a mix of local native plants that flower throughout the year
- Manage your pets responsibly
- Minimise chemical use
Butterfly Habitat Garden at the Adelaide Sustainability Centre
- Sea Berry Saltbush, Rhagodia candolleana, caterpillar food plant (CFP) for Saltbush Blue, nectar plant
- Cut-leaved Goodenia, Goodenia pinnafida, CFP for Meadow Argus, nectar plant
- White Goodenia, Goodenia albiflora, CFP for Meadow Argus, nectar plant
- Vanilla Lily, Arthropodium strictum, nectar plant
- Native Lilac, Hardenbergia violacea, CFP for Mottled grass-skipper, Marbled Xenica, Common Brown, White-banded Grass-dart
- Native Leek, Bulbine bulbosa, nectar plant
- Kangaroo Grass, Themeda triadra, CFP for Marbled Xenica, Common Brown, Southern Grass-dart