Butterflies are one of the most important pollinators on the planet. We know that flowers are a crucial source of nectar for butterflies. Although many gardeners do all they can to get rid of dandelions, deeming them weeds, this isn’t the case for pollinators. So, do butterflies like dandelions or not?
Yes, butterflies do like dandelions. Dandelions are rich in pollen and nectar which is exactly what butterflies desire.
Why Do Butterflies Like Dandelions?
The thing that makes dandelions unique is that they are made up of a cluster of other flowers known as ray flowers. Each flower consists of nectar, stamen, and pollen. From afar, we might look at a dandelion and see each yellow flower and a singular flower. But, in reality, this isn’t the case.
Since dandelions grow continuously, they serve as an adequate and easy food source for butterflies. Deadheading them when cutting the lawn can also simply lead to them growing back with more vigour.
Since dandelions start growing relatively early in the season, butterflies visit them due to the lack of other options in the surrounding area. Dandelions are actually one of the first, native flowers to bloom in the season.
When spring arrives, butterflies come out of diapause (a mini hibernation, of sorts) and are thus very hungry so go immediately to the nearest food source they can find.
Which Butterflies Like Dandelions the Most?
The Painted Lady butterflies are famously known for liking dandelions the most. This is because they are mostly active during the earlier spring months when dandelions come out.
In addition, the decline in the number of flowers and plants in the environment, primarily due to deforestation and the removal of wildflower meadows, has greatly affected the number of butterflies around us. This is actually why you’ll see a number of different butterfly species on dandelions – they simply have no other choice.
This is why gardeners are advised to let the dandelions grow until mid-spring when other flowers have fully grown. Remember, weeds are just flowers in the wrong place. But in nature, nowhere is the wrong place.
Do Other Pollinators Like Dandelions?
Yes, other pollinators, especially bees, like dandelions. Perfectly manicured gardens have their benefits and are good for the eye. However, they don’t do much for butterflies, bees, and other pollinating insects.
Dandelions serve as the ideal food in the early seasons for pollinators. In addition, often during the spring season, only a specific number of flowers grow, so pollinators have to compete to fulfil their nutritional needs.
Due to the shortage of flowers, many pollinators cannot satiate their hunger, and thus we have noticed a significant decline in the number of pollinators on our planet.
Apart from butterflies, bees are the prime example of pollinators who like dandelions. Even though dandelions may not be the first choice for them, pollinators like honeybees, bumblebees, and solitary bees all go to dandelions to get food.
Other pollinators that visit dandelions include beetles and hoverflies.
Are Dandelions Good For Your Garden?
Many people dislike having dandelions in their gardens simply because they are notorious for being weeds. This means that they have supersonic growth, multiply in numbers very quickly and tend to populate gardens in no time.
However, what many people are unaware of is that dandelions have a myriad of amazing benefits for gardens.
First and foremost, dandelions are excellent for the soil as they will help improve the overall soil quality of your garden.
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Their taproots are unusually long, which many gardeners might find annoying as it makes them very hard to remove from the soil. However, these long taproots benefit the soil as they loosen the tightened soil.
Another benefit that dandelions have is that they are a great edible addition to gardens – yes, for humans!
This is because they are highly nutritious and packed with important vitamins such as Vitamins K, C, and A, calcium, and several other minerals. Apart from this, they also help control health conditions such as blood sugar and blood pressure.
And, of course, as mentioned before, they’re also a great food source for many pollinators, primarily butterflies and bees.
Butterflies and bees are undoubtedly two of our ecosystem’s most active and crucial pollinators. For pollinators, flowers are of the utmost importance. However, flowers don’t fully grow in our garden until spring has arrived.
This is where dandelions jump in. One of the major reasons why many pollinators, especially butterflies, like feeding and pollinating on dandelions is because they start growing earlier in the season and prove to be an adequate source of nectar for all pollinators, especially butterflies.