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Y .ou know it’s spring when the butterflies start coming out in droves, because they need a body temperature of at least 80 degrees in order to be active. So, when you start to see one or two, then ten or twenty, and then clouds of them, you know that spring has sprung and it’s finally safe to rake up the winter debris and clean up your yard. Butterflies overwinter in piles of leaves around flower beds and fallen logs and other debris in the yard, so throwing these out before the butterflies have a chance to come out will cut down on the numbers you may see in your garden, because statistically, only about five percent of butterflies make it from the larval stage to their adult form.
However, Florida, with its mild climate, is home to over 100 species of butterflies.
Sandy Valladares, of the Suwannee County Agricultural Center, addressed the Madison Garden Club at their April meeting with some tips on how to have a successful butterfly garden and take care of the butterflies that visit it.
A butterfly garden needs both host plants, for egg-laying and larvae (caterpillar) food, and nectar plants they can feed on when they emerge in their adult form from their chrysalises. One species of butterfly, the red-spotted purple or the Texas butterfly, also feeds on carrion or rotting fruit.
Some good choices for host plants are passion flower,
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