View Full Version : How to Start a Butterfly Garden?

11-Feb-2009, 04:47 PM
hi guys,

i am planning to start a butterfly garden. i am totally new to this. can anyone help me or recommend some good reading sites/books?


Blue Nawab
11-Feb-2009, 09:43 PM
You probably need to know which area you are at and what are the butterfly species around your area, then you can decide on the host plants to get and the nectar plants. Take a look at Alexander Hospital's Butterfly Garden or Oh's Farm Butterfly Lodge or even the Butterfly Trail at the Zoo near the Ah Meng Restaurant or even Pulau Ubin's Butterfly Hill. Can also visit the Sentosa Butterfly Garden to have an idea before you plan what butterflies to attract to your garden. Oh's Farm's Nancy is pretty helpful in giving you some advice if you need and some host plants too, Rosalind Tan from AH is very willing to share her experience...Hope that helps...a bit...;P

13-Feb-2009, 01:54 AM
Well... here's a list of plants i've tried and they are quite good...

Try bloodflower aka asclepias curassavica (great nectar plant and hostplant for plain tigers)- hua hng at bah soon pah

calotropis gigantea aka crown flower for the plain tigers hostplant- hortpark (be sure u ask permission if u want cuttings)

heliotropium indicum (for the tigers and crows)- seeds can be obtained easily, check AH?

cordia (they've got them at AH, you could ask if rosalind could spare u some cuttings, they root very easily)- AH

snakeweed aka stachytarpheta mutabilis or stachytarpheta indica (very gd nectar plant, swallowtails, tigers and crows love these to bits!)- AH have the blue ones... if u want the pink ones let me know!

duranta erecta, albatross and other butts also love this! -most garden centres have these

Panama rose aka Rondeletia leucophylla (nectar plant)- hua hng

Vinca aka periwinkles (favoured by papilios)- virtually lotsa places have these... get the original pink flowered ones if possible

citrus plants (best time to get them, since it's past the ny, and it should be relatively cheap, hostplant for lime butts and commong mormon and if lucky, u get great mormon)

curry plant aka murraya spp. (those used in malay curries or indian curries... hostplant of common mormon... great nectar source)- most garden centres

lantana (wild or dwarf, both attract butts pretty well)- most garden centres, no particular colour in my experience is esp attractive, just grow in masses will do the trick

try tylophora spp (u can try AH if u wanna get some cuttings, ask rosalind for her permission first you would like to try that... it's a creeper)

raphistemma pulchellum (creeper as well... can be grown by stem cuttings...)- AH (never tried this before)

cynanchum tunicatum can be found in kelantan lane, by the fence of the thieve's market, they are host plant of the common tiger... my plain tigers have ventured onto that plant and feed on that plant as well. u can easily stem cut these and they grow very vigorously... it's a creeper as well...- quite uncommon, this is the only place i know has it in the wild and pulau semakau!

clerodendrum paniculatum aka pagoda plant/flower... loved by the papilios...-hua hng

ixora or pentas- garden centres

bouganvillas- everywhere has it... i've seen papilios on those before!

if u feel u got the time and love gardening... try cosmos sulphureus or cosmos binnapus... they are annuals and they grow well from seeds... good nectar source...

asystacia intrusa (hostplant for a variety of butts, eggflies, pansies, autumn leaf)- it's a weed... found virtually everywhere under your nose...

cycad palm (hostplant of cycad blue i think)- never tried this...

if u got land, chempaka yellow/white... hostplant for the jays

wild cinnamon for bluebottles and common mimes- never tried these before

soursop or custard apple saplings...- never tried these before

verbena... those with hairy-like foliages are well worth trying, papilios love these... u can occasionally find them in hua hng... try the blue or purple ones... be aware that they hate waterlogged conditions and prone to mealy bugs... so use compost with perlite and grow them in pots are the best... ground is a nono since most of the soil we have are heavy clay soil which promotes waterlogged conditons after a heavy rain!

fertilise with organic fertiliser... and u may be lucky to attract some butt feeding on the fermenting dung ferts... :) for hostplants, apply ferts with high N, it promotes leave growth, for nectar, ferts with high K and P promotes blooming... (just in case u don't know :bsmile: )

try growing the shrubs/plants in masses, this way, they tend to get attracted by the colours... So far, these are the plants i've tried in my area, never have they failed me...

If u wanna experiment, buy asclepias on ebay... they tend to have many different species... i have seedlings of asclepias tuberosa and incarnata, apparantly, the plain tigers at my area feed on those too... the more variety u have in your garden, the more different types of butterflies u may see at any one time...

try growing nectar plants in their original form and not bred in a way to boost petal colours and such.. because these plants are bred to selected for show quality, thereby it may compromise nectar quality and quantity... that's my point of view...

if u are into conservation of butterflies, u may wanna try aristolochia tagala or littoralis, and hopefully.. just hopefully, u might be lucky to see birdwings and roses at your area... so far, mine don't have those yet! i might expand my plant collections when i get back to sg soon... and if u want some, i can pass u whatever spare i have some time in june/july!!

good luck!

And remember, no matter how tempting it is to rid of pest like aphids and mealybugs, DO NOT use pesticides!! u have to use other alternative method like hosing aphids, garlic pound with onions and peppers and spray them... never never use pesticides! they kill caterpillars and if any gets into flowers, they may poison butts when they seep onto the nectar!

also also... in order to maintain the butterfly population, let nature takes it's course, there's a need for predators to kill some of the caterpillars, otherwise u will find it very overwhelming to maintain the butterfly population... 2 cents worth of advice...

lastly, u need not mind the aftereffects of the chomped up plants... that's what caterpillars do! but for me, i tend to cut or pinch the shoots and feed my cats in my box... so i kill bird with 1 stone, i promote bushiness of the plant, and i feed the cats!

hope these are useful info since i'm very much into butterfly gardening and conservation and know some stuff about it... if u do not know any of the name, google their names and find pics of them, they should match what i intend to put across to u!