Butterfly gardening in South Florida enhances your outdoor pleasure while helping preserve and protect the local environment. This resouce guide directs you to information to start or further develop your knowledge of butterfly gardening in South Florida.
Native plants grow and bloom in harmony with butterflies' needs, so butterfly gardens use them in place of exotics . Butterflies need nectar sources and host plants on which they lay their eggs. They also need sunshine and water in a pesticide free environment. Through informed plant selection and garden design, you can be rewarded with the daily delights of butterflies in your yard.
This article from Audobon magazine provides a nice introduction to butterfly gardening:
- Weatherbee, K. (1999). Backyard Gardening for Butterflies Audobon Society: http://magazine.audubon.org/backyard/backyard.html
Three books provide Florida-specific details:
- Traas, P.F. (1999). Gardening for Florida's butterflies. St. Petersburg, FL: Great Outdoors Publishing Company.
- Minno, M.C., & Minno, M. (1999). Florida butterfly gardening; a complete guide to attracting, identifying, and enjoying butterflies of the lower South. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida. (available as an eBook through Florida Electronic Library).
- Daniels, J.C. (2001) Your Florida guide to butterfly
gardening: a guide for the deep South (published in cooperation with
the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences). Gainesville, FL:
University Press of Florida
Since it is nice to know what you are looking at, a butterfly guide is recommended:
- Glassberg, J., Minno, M.C., & Calhoun, J.V. (2000). Butterflies through binoculars; a field, finding, and gardening guide to butterflies in Florida. NY: Oxford University Press.
Talk to experts
Visiting a commercial butterfly garden can be fun and educational. Plants are usually for sale; some may have butterfly eggs attached!
3600 W. Sample Road
Coconut Creek, Florida 33073
Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
1316 Duval Street
Key West, Florida 33040
tel:(305) 296-2988 | (800) 839-4647
Panhandle Butterfly House
Asking questions on newsgroups is another excellent way to learn directly from experts. Back posts of the Lepidoptera Discussion List (LEPS-L) can be read through Google Groups at http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&group=sci.bio.entomology.lepidoptera and the home page for the listserv is at http://www.peabody.yale.edu/other/lepsl/LEPSLfaq.html
One of the classics in the field was published in 1985. While not specific to South Florida, it has good advice for butterfly gardeners everywhere:
- Tekulsky, M. (1985). The Butterfly Garden Cambridge, MA: Harvard Common Press
Creating Summer Magic in Your Garden
By The Xerces Society/The Smithsonian Institution, many editions available.
The Kaufman Focus Guides are well reviewed field guides. Their butterfly book is:
- Brock, J.P. & Kaufman, K. (2003). Butterflies of North America (Kaufman Focus Guides). NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Planting native plants improves habitat for butterflies. These books offer suggestions for such plantings.
- Haehle, R.G. & Brookwell, J. (2004). Native Florida plants; low-maintenance landscaping and gardening. Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publishing.
- Nelson, G. (2003). Florida's best native landscape plants; 200 readily available species for homeowners and professionals. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.
Associations and organizations
North American Butterfly Association (www.naba.org) is the largest butterfly lover organization.
Florida Native Plant Society (http://www.fnps.org/pages/homepage/home.php) has many local chapters with activities of interest to butterfly gardeners. Online newsletters have excellent and up-to-date information.
The Lepidopterists' Society (http://alpha.furman.edu/~snyder/snyder/lep/) is open to professionals and amateurs interested in butterflies. Their Journal of the Lepidopterist's Society features refereed scholary papers, reviews, and other information.
The International Butterfly Breeders Association has many excellent resources on their website. Their annual convention will be December 4, 2004 in Gainesville, Florida.
The Xerces Society is "dedicated to protecting biological diversity through invertebrate conservation."
There is no magazine dedicated to butterfly gardening. Many organizations listed above have journals, like Journal of the Lepidopterist's Society or the NABA's American Butterflies. Many gardening magazines have occasional features on butterfly gardening; try Horticulture or Audubon.
Looking on your own
You can find more books at your local library. Here are some ways to look. Butterfly gardening is multidisciplinary, combining gardens, animals, and plants. Searching for subject headings like "Butterfly gardening" may lead to the best discoveries.
Library of Congress
- Florida butterfly gardening and guides QL551.F6 / QL544 (Butterfly gardening -- Florida; Butterflies -- Florida)
- Field guides QL548 (Butterflies -- North America -- Identification)
- Plants SB439.24 (Native plant gardening -- Florida)
Dewey Decimal System
- Butterfly Gardening 638.5789 ( Butterfly gardeining Florida)
- Plants of Florida 635.951759 (Landscape plants Florida; Native plant gardening Florida)
- Butterfly field guides 595.789 or 595.789097 (Butterflies Florida)
Magazine and journal articles about butterfly gardening may be found in databases. For instance, Wilson Omnifile has 352 full text listings for a search on "florida butterfly gardening." I didn't find anything interesting or relevant in the articles I examined, but you may have better luck!
United States Geological Society (USGS) runs the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) that hosts an authoritative website containing photographs and information about Florida's butterflies at http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/fl/toc.htm Images of eggs and catepillars are included for many species.
University of Florida publications
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) at the University of Florida publishes an excellent series of guides available online:
- Butterfly Gardening in Florida (15 pages) ( http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW057)
- Florida Coonties and Atala Butterflies (5 pages) (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/MG/MG34700.pdf )
- Low-Maintenance Landscape Plants for South Florida (49 pages) (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP10700.pdf)
- Native Florida Plants for Home Landscapes (15 pages) (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/EP011)
- Native Landscape Plants for South Florida (17 pages)
- Florida Butterflies Sheet 1 and Florida Butterflies Sheet 2 offer easy identification guides for common butterflies
- Eight data sheets on individual species are found at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/TOPIC_Butterflies
Children's books on butterflies (http://butterflywebsite.com/Educate/biblio.htm)
Butterflies of North America http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/bflyref.htm
California Academy of Sciences Library Butterfly Bibliography http://www.calacademy.org/research/library/biodiv/biblio/butterfly.htm
Young Entymologists Society Butterfly Gardening (http://members.aol.com/YESedu/bgardbib.html)