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Put Your Garden On The Map!

MORRISTOWN, N.J., March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The North American Butterfly Association’s Butterfly Garden Certification program is a wonderful way to let everyone know that your garden provides resources that increase the world’s butterfly populations. Thousands of individual homeowners and institutions are already involved! Butterflies are not only important pollinators, their caterpillars, along with those of moths, are the major food of nesting songbirds – no butterflies and moths = no songbirds. Providing garden resources such as caterpillar host plants and adult nectar sources will not only attract but increase the production of butterflies, bees and other wildlife. You’ll be amazed by the sheer number and uniqueness of wildlife that will visit the vegetation you steward and remain to reproduce there. Increasing development and excessive pesticide use has made creation of oases for pollinators critical. Encourage municipal officials to maintain and certify additional habitats. Incorporate schools, businesses, civic groups and others in butterfly management. Together, we can make the world a better place for butterflies and human beings at the same time. If we can save butterflies, we can save ourselves ® is more than a slogan – it’s the understanding that keeping sufficient space for wildlife will sustain people as well.

Specific requirements for certification include:

– At least three different native caterpillar food plants must be grown, preferably more than one plant of each selected species.

– At least three different native butterfly nectar sources must be grown, preferably more than one plant of each selected species.

– The use of pesticides is discouraged. Pesticides can kill butterflies as well as other important pollinators.
For a map of where North American Butterfly Association Certified Gardens are saving habitat for butterflies, click HERE. To certify your garden, please complete this FORM.

The North American Butterfly Association (NABA) is a 501 c(3) non-profit membership-based entity headquartered in Morristown, NJ. The organization’s largest project is the National Butterfly Center in Mission, TX. Through an active Chapter system and engaged membership, NABA works locally to promote on-the-ground conservation work and institutes policy initiatives to further its mission. For more information visit Connect with us on social media @NABAButterfly.

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Butterfly Gardening: Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata)


(Cloudless Sulphur caterpillar hanging out on its host plant Chamaecrista fasciculata)

Also known as Showy Partridge Pea, Sensitive Plant, and Sleepingplant, Patridge Pea is native from southern Florida to northern Minnesota, It looks best when planted in groups and is easy to include in most medium to large size gardens. A short-lived perennial that is grown as an annual, partridge pea has bright yellow flowers that incorporate easily into many garden border combinations. Try pairing with liatris for contrasting colors and plant forms.

Partridge pea also provides pollen for a number of other insects and birds relish the seed pods that follow the flowers.



(Via, dark green areas represent where Partridge Pea is native, while light green areas represent where it is not native but common.)

Importance as a caterpillar food source: Cloudless Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, and Little Yellow caterpillars all use partridge pea as a food source. All three of these butterflies range widely over the southern U.S., with Little Yellow’s range being restricted eastward.

Partridge pea is also used as a food source by Ceraunus Blue caterpillars which are common in far southern regions, usually late in the summer; found all year long in southern Florida and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.

Gray Hairstreak caterpillars also include partridge pea as a caterpillar food plant in addition to countless other plants.

Importance as a butterfly nectar source: A good nectar source that also attracts many pollinators in addition to butterflies.

Partridge Pea Cultural Requirements
USDA Hardiness Zone: Plant annually
Bloom Period: Summer to fall
Bloom Color: Yellow
Plant Height: 24 to 40 inches
Plant Spread:18 inches
Light Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Soil Moisture: Medium to dry
Animal/Pest Problems: None


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Butterfly Gardening: Oswego Tea (Monarda didyma)

Monarda didyma ‘Jacob Cline’

Part of the mint family, oswego tea plants produce tufted red flowers concentrated primarily at the end of each stem with a bloom period of at least a month. Deadheading (the removal of dying flowers) can extend the bloom period even longer. For gardeners who appreciate hot (some might say clashing) color in the garden, plant oswego tea next to butterfly milkweed.

(Via, dark green areas represent where Oswego Tea is native, while light green areas represent where it is not native but common. Yellow areas represent where it is present but rare.)

Powdery mildew can be a serious problem with oswego tea. A natural cross M. didyma ‘Jacob Cline’ is a mildew and rust resistant cultivar of oswego tea. It also has the potential to grow much taller than the species, up to six feet in some cases. The cultivar ‘Raspberry Wine’ also gets a call-out in some of our butterfly gardening guides. You can find them here:

Oswego Tea Cultural Requirements
USDA Hardiness Zone: 3- 8
Bloom Period: June to August
Bloom Color: Red
Plant Height: 36 to 48 inches
Plant Spread: 24 to 36 inches
Light Exposure: Sun to light shade
Soil Moisture: Average
Animal/Disease Problems: Deer resistant, powdery mildew may be a problem (see the ‘Jacob Cline’ cultivar as noted above)