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Your yard as a butterfly paradise, it's all about the right plants

Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:33:58 AM CST   Updated On: Sep 25 2013 07:26:05 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Monarch butterflies will be migrating to their winter homes in Mexico soon and it doesn't take much to ensure that they stop at your yard.

First, you'll want to make sure you have the host plant.

This is what the caterpillars eat before they turn into butterflies.

Milkweed is a host plant for Monarchs while things like fennel, dill, and carrots, will attract Swallowtail butterflies.

When the butterflies are adults, they won't eat the plants but they will drink the nectar from flowers.

Jean Dotson with the Big Country Master Naturalists says "in particular, butterflies look for purple flowers, they'll drink from anything but purple really attracts them".

For Monarchs, plant things like Vitex, Greg's Blue Mist, or butterfly bush, in addition to milkweeds.

And it's important to leave the plants alone for the most part.

Even organic pesticides and solutions can kill caterpillars or wash off the egg before it has time to grow and become a butterfly.

The Big Country Chapter Master Naturalists will be holding a seminar from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 28 to highlight the importance of certain plants to these butterflies.

Space is limited for the seminar so if you'd like to reserve your spot, call the Taylor County Extension office at (325) 672-6048.

Registration is $10 per person.