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Five plants for butterflies

Butterflies are among our prettiest garden visitors, but they're dwindling in numbers: according to a Butterfly Conservation report published in 2011, The State of Britain's Butterflies, overall three-quarters of UK butterflies have shown a 10-year decrease in either their distribution or population levels.

You can you do your bit for butterflies by making them welcome in your garden. Adults feed on nectar, and are especially fond of plants with long tubular flowers - so the more of these you can grow, the better.

Discover five plants that butterflies will love, below.


Buddleja

One of the best-known nectar flowers for adult butterflies, Buddleja davidii produces blooms over a number of weeks between summer and autumn. Grow a few varieties to extend the flowering season.

Red valerian

Centranthus ruber performs best in poorer, dry or chalky soils, where it forms a tidy, compact plant and won't be overwhelmed by other, stronger plants. It often flowers early and continues well into midsummer.

Verbena

Tall, with lots of purple flowers on stiff, wiry stems, Verbena bonariensis can be grown through other plants or in a border on its own. It flowers late in the season and is extremely rich in nectar.

Sedum

Always go for the old-fashioned pink form of Sedeum spectabile, which produces the most nectar when it flowers in autumn. Red varieties tend to be poor in comparison.

Hebe

As well as being a reliable evergreen shrub, hebes attracts a range of insects - in particular bees and butterflies.




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