The importance of native plants is in the news all the time. But will you really see more birds, bees and butterflies if you plant them? A few weeks after planting my garden with lots of native plants, I was starting to wonder.
That’s when the fritillary butterflies showed up. Before we added the native plants I had only seen the occasional one nectaring on the non-native zinnias, but now we had them every day flying around the maypop passion vine looking for the perfect place to lay their eggs. Then the zebra longwings showed up! Last year the
beautiful zebra longwings had only passed by a few times, but now they, too, flew around our passion vines every day. Then beautiful native green bees showed up, flashing emerald and blue as they flew through the blanket flowers. I didn’t even know that bees came in those colors!
Each day now I see new things: one day a bunch of long horned bees showed up in the backyard and they’ve been there ever since. A couple days ago, I saw a furrow bee sleeping on a native rosinflower bud. When the bee got up in the morning the flower was open. The flower was a bed & breakfast for that bee. Last night I saw three cassias blue butterflies sleeping together.
The turkey tangle frogfruit swarms with butterflies, so do the Spanish needles. And these are just a few of the animals that have shown up. As I write this, one of the zebra longwings is flying around outside the window and I bet the leaf cutter bee that accompanied me as I watered some new plants today is still out there.
So, my question has been answered by the animals themselves. Native plants are vital to the survival of all the animals we enjoy seeing. Without native plants many of them would die out. The other thing that is vital for attracting these animals to your yard is not using pesticides, if you use pesticides in your yard then even if you grow native plants the animals will not show up. If you are interested in native plants then go to plantrealflorida.org to find a native plant nursery near you. Then enjoy all the beautiful wildlife your native plants attract!
(Photos by Brice Claypoole)