The only thing better than a butterfly garden is an “accidental” one.
One Redditor from Ocala, Florida, shared a video in early August, showing how their yard was overtaken by the winged insects after they made a few minor changes to their outdoor space.
“I trimmed back a couple of the vines I let grow here,” they wrote. “I also added some things that attract butterflies but I had no idea they did I just sort of threw them in to add to some empty areas for ground cover. The passion flower is one of the reasons I think I have more and I am not sure how it even started in there.”
One commenter coined it a “butterfly oasis.”
The haven featured luna moths, Gulf fritillary, zebra longwing, and little yellow butterflies. Occasionally, a monarch stopped by to join the other wildlife, including anoles, geckos, grasshoppers, crickets, frogs, various birds, and a snake.
One user said that gulf fritillary butterflies are attracted to passion fruit vines.
“Could be the native Passiflora incarnata or a tropical variety since you’re in Florida,” the commenter wrote. “That is the host plant that the caterpillars require.”
Butterflies are important pollinators, as they help plants reproduce, increase biodiversity, and protect our food supply. They’re also an indicator organism since they “react quickly to environmental changes,” according to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.
The United States Forest Service noted butterflies taste with their feet and have remarkable survival skills. As caterpillars, monarch butterflies feed on the leaves of milkweed plants, which makes them and the metamorphosed butterflies “distasteful to birds and other predators.” Other butterflies, including the Gulf fritillary and viceroy, mimic monarchs “to utilize this strategy for survival.”
A few commenters — one each in the Pacific Northwest, Virginia, and Detroit — noted they had seen more butterflies this year than last year, and one speculated it was because of the declining bird population.
“I’ve never seen this many but this is the first time I’ve let the yard do this,” the original poster wrote. “It’s always been a bit wild but once passion fruit started growing and my banana trees multiplied and it started going wild I started seeing so many birds, then the butterflies came. It’s not very common where I am in Fl because it’s so overdeveloped, I think I have a butterfly refugee camp.”
“This is so inspiring!!” one commenter said. “Thanks for posting!!”
“I have the same situation this year!” another wrote. “Mine are all around because I planted a passion flower vine in early spring. They devoured every inch of it!”
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