How to Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds To Your Garden

Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to Your Garden

Here at Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles, we love doing our part for the bees, butterflies, and Hummingbirds!

With the population of Monarchs down 90% since the 1990s, it’s been a joy for us to plant flowers to attract and watch these graceful and beneficial insects.

Mexican Petunia bushOur Monarchs (shown above) normally visit in late July and stick around til late September. The video above shows them during the migration season.

A great time to visit Cape Charles as they flit and flutter around making their plans to migrate.

The beauty of flowers complimented by buzzing bees, beautiful butterflies, and the flutter of hummingbirds is enough to make anyone feel happy.

But how can you attract more of these pollinators to your own flower garden? It’s actually pretty easy. Like everybody else in the world, bees, butterflies, and hummers have their own favorite foods.

But before they can enjoy their meal, they have to have a comfortable environment. That means ditching heavy pesticides like malathion, Sevin, and diazinon. These kill butterflies and bees.

Surprising Ways to Create an Abundance of Butterflies and Hummingbirds

Hummingbird in Flight

Fred, our resident hummer. He returns every year. Photo courtesy of Robert Suppa

Grow native plants for the regions in which you live. And, choose colors that productive and beautiful insects are attracted to.

Butterflies love the bright colors of purple, pink, red, orange, and yellow.

Bees love purple, blue and yellow colors best. They also prefer flowers with shallow or flat blossoms like Queen Anne’s Lace, zinnias, and asters.

Hummers are attracted to the color red and can see it as they whiz by you. They also see the beautiful shades of red as the official Hummingbird runway!

Long-tongued bees will love the mint family like Nepeta, oregano, salvia, lavender, and mint. Some preferred butterfly flowers are lupine, cudweed, parsley, and fennel.

But the only plant that Monarchs use for food is the milkweed! Just make sure you plant the right milkweed for your region. Here’s a handy guide to help you buy the appropriate milkweed for your area.

Busy Bees and Laidback Butterflies

Bumblebee Pollinator

Photo courtesy of Robert Suppa

While bees are constantly busy, butterflies like to take breaks. So why not create a butterfly spa? Just fill a shallow dish or pan with water.

Then add some flat rocks. Be sure to place the pan in the sun. Butterflies LOVE the sun!

You may find that bees, too, make their way to the spa to rest and drink. The more the merrier!

Nothing makes us happier than strolling through the inn gardens and seeing this “haven” we have created not only for guests but beautiful and beneficial pollinators too!

One of the flowers we grow here at the inn is Mexican Petunia. It’s very hardy, and butterflies love it. So do our guests. We make sure they take some home with them as a parting gift to remember their stay.  And, of course, to help spread the pollinator garden love, known around here as #pollenlove.

Learn More About Plants for Butterflies and Bees

Want to find more flowers to plant for butterflies? Here’s a great list (scroll to the

Strolling around the inn’s gardens we plant pockets of natural nectar for our bees,Monarch feeding on Vermillionaire flower butterflies, and hummers. A few you might recognize from your visit to the Inn. Here are our top picks:
1) Vermillionaire We have this planted at the front of the inn and guests enjoy the many hummingbirds and butteries it attracts. A lovely orange/red trumpet flower that is wonderful all summer and spectacular in the fall.

Zinnias are hardy and early bloomers attracting all the good bees to do their pollinating work! You will find these in the side “cut” garden, as we call it since we cut a lot of the flowers grown here for in-room bouquets.
Monarch feeding on zinniaMexican Sunflower is the best-kept secret. Lucky you,I am sharing it today! They are a fall bloomer and last until the first frost.
We are in the migration path of the monarchs as they head south and you can find them “roosting” on this wonderful plant!
They re-seed, so if you are lucky, you will find them coming back each year. Since we have a little more time this spring, we are growing some from seed…who knows if you visit, you might just get to take one home for your garden!Two monarchs feeding on Mexican Sunflowers
Mexican Petunia, as mentioned above, is a hearty bloom producing pollinator. Blooming from June through November, it produces beautiful succulent nectar for the butterflies and bees to enjoy all season!
Share the beauty of your garden. Bees and butterflies will love you for it! Follow the post of our gardens at Instagram @bayhaveninn Twitter #bayhaveninn or on FaceBook.

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