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Northern California Regional Reports

Tips for Creating a Butterfly Garden | Northern California Regional Report

Anise swallowtail. Photo: Fionuala Campion

More than 130 butterfly species are found in Northern California. As delightful to watch in their natural environment as they are in your perennial border, butterflies are valuable as pollinators and are important members of Northern California’s natural ecosystem. Sadly, some populations are now in decline and have even reached endangered status; fortunately, it’s easy and extremely rewarding to create a butterfly sanctuary in your own yard geared toward ensuring the survival of these graceful, fluttering insects.

To encourage butterflies to visit, feed, shelter, and linger to lay eggs and hopefully produce a whole new generation of “winged jewels,” plan on providing summer-blooming nectar sources for the adult butterflies, larval host plants for the caterpillars to feed and grow on, shelter from wind, sun (being cold-blooded creatures, they need sun to warm their wings for flight), a water source, and most importantly, a pesticide-free environment.

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