Butterfly Gardening

Bring Your Garden to Life with Butterflies

Creating a butterfly garden is a rewarding and exciting experience. These beautiful insects will add color, beauty and movement to your garden, as well as delight you with their antics. It is an opportunity for you to get in touch with nature and for nature to touch you back. There are approximately 760 butterfly species in North America, about 170 can be found in Florida, with at least 50-60 species in the Sarasota County area. Butterfly gardening is important to butterfly species as their habitats continue to be reduced through roadside mowing, land development, spraying for insects and the draining and filling of wetlands. Local conservation efforts of protection, restoration, and the management of natural habitats help protect species from disappearing.

Check out our resources below. We update this regularly so check back often.

Blueprint for Five by Five Butterfly Garden in Southwest Florida

Our Favorite Butterfly Plants for Sarasota County

Invasive Butterfly Plants

Monarchs, Oe and Milkweeds

7 Responses to Butterfly Gardening

  1. Bev Thompson says:

    I have a lot of caterpillars on my milkweed. Some have been disappearing. I understand that a certain bee & lady bugs will eat them, but will lizards eat them? When a couple of the caterpillars got big & were ready to go into the next stage, I brought them on my patio for protection. After they turned into butterflies, I released.

    To make sure that I’m doing this correctly, is it possible to speak to a butterfly expert? If you would e-mail me your phone number, I would appreciate it.

    Thank you for your help.

    • Karen Rosenbeck, President, Sarasota County Butterfly Club says:

      If you have successfully raised some monarch caterpillars to butterflies, you have been doing something right. Here’s a link that explains more fully how to do this:
      https://www.saveourmonarchs.org/how-to-raise-monarch-butterflies-at-home.html
      And to answer your original question: yes, there are many predators that feed on all stages of the butterfly, esp. eggs and caterpillars: ants and lady bugs, parasitizing wasps, lizards, birds. etc. Disappearing caterpillars could certainly be due to predation (in the natural scheme of things, only 1-2 eggs per 100 actually survives to become an adult butterfly). Another reason for disappearance is, as the caterpillar completes its last stage, it will wander, frequently quite far, from the milkweed plant to form a chrysalis. You may find them (if you’re lucky!) in very unexpected places.

  2. Monita Whitney says:

    Good morning,

    Thank you for your helpful information on planting a butterfly garden in Sarasota, we recently returned from Victoria Canada and visited a butterfly exhibit, then this morning on tv they did an article about the importance of butterfly gardens, so that being said my husband and I will be planting one soon!!

    Regards, Monita

  3. Tracie Newhouse says:

    Hello again,
    Sometime within the last year I wrote to the club in hopes of getting advice on designing a butterfly garden for a small private school named Morning Star in Tampa. Somone did respond & requested that I send a picture & the dimensions since it would be quite a distance to just stop by. Well, we’re back on track after a number of delays and I no longer have the name and email address of the generous person who offered their assistance.
    There is a longer story that explains the need more thoroughly, but I will briefly explain that I am a volunteer who works with most of the 70 or so elementary and junior high age children with learning disabilities and related challenges. It is a very rewarding experience and I would love to provide a plan to replace the butterfly garden that is no longer there.
    Hopefully you will recognize this and respond again. If not, maybe you’d have an interest in sharing your knowledge. I am willing to talk on the phone, communicate through email, and at some point possibly travel to Sarasota.
    I’d appreciate any assistance you can provide.
    Again,
    Thank You
    Tracie at Tracie.newhouse@verizon.net or call (813) 494-4909

  4. Chris Parisi says:

    I agree with your position on A. curassavica there is one detail though that really isnt accurate. While native milkweed takes more effort to find, the supply is growing. I grow incarnata, perennis, lanceolata, tuberosa, verticillata and supply seeds for these species as well as A. humistrata and A. curassavica. Several members of FANN grow A. incarnata, A. perennis and A. tuberosa on a regular basis. Though supplies can be short at times when gardening is in high gear, there is always some available. If your group would like to get access to native milkweeds for a variety of soil and sun scenarios, let me know, we can get it to you at a reasonable price.

  5. debbi ann layfield says:

    Hi there…saw your site while doing research about creating a butterfly garden. We are interested in creating a memorial garden at our ALF. Butterflies and florals came to mind. Any info you could provide for plantings, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Thanks ever so much

  6. dave osgood says:

    is there a place in sarasota to buy caterpillars?

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