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Winter Planting for Butterflies

13 Jul, 2022

People who love butterflies usually just think of swan plants in the spring, but there are many other plants that encourage NZ’s beautiful butterflies. During the winter, butterflies are looking for places to shelter and will emerge on the warm, wintry days to top up their nectar reserves.

When you’re looking for trees, why not plant something multi-purpose Bottlebrushes will often flower in the
winter, and they’ll provide nectar for butterflies and other pollinators. There are many varieties to choose from even the dwarf Little John.

If you prefer natives, lacebarks or houhere (Hoheria populnea) also provide nectar for our pollinators. Corokia is an attractive native and will make great hedges or topiary and feed our pollinators with its bright, star-shaped yellow flowers. C. buddleioides needs shelter, but C. cotoneaster, often referred to as the wire-netting bush, is ideal for dry, stony soils and more exposed locations.

And don’t forget manuka and hebes! They come in a wide range of colours these days and are so versatile.

Many people ask about butterflies like ‘tiny monarchs’. These are our copper butterflies, and we have the plant the caterpillars need! Muehlenbeckia. Plant
it, and you may have the extra delight of seeing these butterflies around your home or garden. Muehlenbeckia spp. can be grown into mounds, sculpted into
balls, hide ugly banks or grow up dead trees and walls. It will bring interest to your garden with its structure and texture. There are different species, suiting most environments. Muehlenbeckia is easy to grow and not fussy about where it’s planted.

To find out more, check out the website of the Months and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust.

nzbutterflies.org.nz


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