Creating a habitat that to support and attract butterflies does more than give you a chance to watch these beautiful creatures at work. It also lets you be a part of keeping our ecosystem intact. That’s because butterflies play two vital roles. The first as predator and prey – they become tasty morsels for birds and bats thus playing their part in the food chain. Plus while they’re gorging themselves on nectar, pollen hitches a ride on the butterfly’s body which is then deposited on another plant. Sure, butterflies are not the pollination super-stars that bees are, but they do their share. Besides, the bees need all the help they can get because they’re becoming scarce as well.

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Do You Know Your Hardiness Zone?

Of course, the plants you choose should be based on your zone and the birds you’re trying to attract. I live in the Pacific Northwest so by checking the interactive USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map,

The  USDA Plant Hardiness map was created from the average annual minimum winter temperature and then divided into 10-degree F zones.  The division was created by creating dividing lines for each 5-degree F increment.  Looking at the colorful map of growing zones, it’s easy to see that we share a lot of the same climate across the U.S.

For example, I live near Seattle, Washingon, known for our cold and rainy weather, and designated as zone 8b. You wouldn’t think we’d have a climate twin in Texas, but we do! In fact, Zone 8b runs through much of Oregon, Northern California, Northern Arizona, Southern New Mexico, and Mid-Texas. But it doesn’t stop there; it winds its way up the eastern seaboard and ends in North Carolina.

Why is it important to know your Hardiness Zone? Because it provides the basis for finding out which plants will thrive in your location. For example, if you purchase a plant with a label that says,  “hardy to zone 8”, it means the plant should tolerate a range of minimum temperatures from 10 °F to 20 °F.  However, if you live in a zone 7 and purchase a plant marked zone 8, your plant likely won’t survive, and that can be an expensive mistake.

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Finding Plants that Attract Butterflies in Your Growing Zone

Once you know your zone, you can go to sites like The Old Farmer’s Almanac to find out your Hardiness Zone Growing Guide. You’ll also find suggested plants for the region that should thrive. Be warned though; they may recommend a plant for your zone that is illegal in your area.

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