I'm glad you replied... I also noticed that the other types of
butterflies seemed scarce this year. Things have picked up, but
I think that has more to do with it being later in the season,
when in my novice opinion there should be more offspring. So,
even though it has picked up, there are still less than I expected.
Even though my expectations were for a lot more butterflies, it
has still been a positive experience this year.
I witnessed three monarchs at the zinnias last sunday. One was very
aggressive toward other butterflies and even the finches and bees.
At one point it chased one of the other monarchs around the yard.
I never knew monarchs could fly so fast! Easily they were faster
than any of the common birds.
One thing I have recognized is that this past year I put some
effort into researching what butterflies are in my area, so I
feel that I'm getting better recognizing the different ones
that visit. Maybe with an exception to the skippers and hairstreaks.
As for nectar plants, my main ones are Moss Verbena (glandularia
pulchella, aka verbena tenuisecta), verbena bonariensis,
Zinnia 'Purple Prince', cosmos bipinnatus, cosmos sulphureus,
two types of rudbeckia, purple coneflower,
butterfly weed (asclepias tuberosa), wingstem.
I never see any butterflies at the cosmos. I have seen monarchs
stop at them, but they never seem to stay. I broadcast the seed,
so the cosmos are tightly packed together, and possibly it doesn't
grow large enough to satisfy the large butterflies.
Last year I grew marigolds and would see the monarchs stop at them
but never sip nectar. I later figured out that they were double
bloom type... so I bought single bloomed this year, but didn't
get around to seeding them.
My zinnia patch is ~32 feet by 4 feet, seeded every 4 inches.
I would guess about 15% didn't germinate though.
I've got probably about 30 verbena bonariensis in bloom at
various locations in the yard. I've got about 40 butterfly weed.
I've also got swamp and common milkweeds, but only two
of the swamp milkweeds were old enough to bloom this year.
I went crazy with collecting seed for different types of milkweed.
Although I intend to start them, I think I will quit collecting them
for a specimen garden, since I don't think having more milkweed than I
have now will make any difference in attracting monarch butterflies.
Probably focus more on establishing more nectar plants and host
plants for other types of butterflies.
I tried Tithonias last year, but they grow so slowly in my HEAVY clay soil.
I haven't tried buddleia yet... I'm going to try to get the dwarf kind like
'peacock'. Is there a color that works best? I've seen white, purple, and blueish.
I'll have to look into that 'Will Rogers' Zinnia, do you remember where you got yours?
Monarchhttp://www.schaefer.dhcp.biz/albums/Gar ... C07181.JPGhttp://www.schaefer.dhcp.biz/albums/Gar ... C07188.JPG
Zebra Swallowtail on Moss Verbenahttp://www.schaefer.dhcp.biz/albums/Gar ... C07095.JPG
American Goldfinches that keeping eating my zinnia seeds.http://www.schaefer.dhcp.biz/albums/Gar ... C07142.JPG
skipper of some kindhttp://www.schaefer.dhcp.biz/albums/Gar ... C07145.JPG
Tiger Swallowtailhttp://www.schaefer.dhcp.biz/albums/Gar ... C07150.JPG
Black Swallowtail on Verbena Bonariensishttp://www.schaefer.dhcp.biz/albums/Gar ... C07160.JPG
Orange Sulphur?http://www.schaefer.dhcp.biz/albums/Gar ... C07050.JPG
Comma or Question Markhttp://www.schaefer.dhcp.biz/albums/Gar ... C07041.JPG
Also, have pictures somewhere of a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, Grey Hairstreaks,
and some other skippers I haven't tried to identify. I think I attracted
some spring and summer azures.