With its beautiful pink, red, or white clusters of flowers, dianthus is a common choice for gardens. But do they bring further benefits by attracting pollinators? So, do dianthus attract butterflies?
Yes! Dianthus do attract butterflies. Not only is this flowering perennial easy to care for, but it also has a long blooming season. This allows butterflies to feast all the way into the first frost of late fall.
What Else Do Dianthus Attract?
Like all flowers rich in nectar, dianthus also attracts other pollinators. Bees of all sorts will love to come and gather pollen and nectar from its bright and beautiful blooms.
Clustering flowers are a common favourite for insects like butterflies and bees because they can gather large amounts of food without travelling very far between flowers.
Bees see colour differently than humans do. While some dianthus bloom red, bees cannot see red. They can however see pinks and whites. Red looks like black or the absence of colour to bees.
If you are hoping to attract more butterflies and fewer bees, it is best to plant dianthus that will bloom red or reddish hues to make it less desirable or attractive to bees.
Butterflies still enjoy the colour red alongside pinks, whites, and purple hues. Planting these low-lying mounding plants as border plants in your garden allows you a front-row seat to the butterflies as they flit from flower to flower gathering nectar.
Yes, dianthus are good for many pollinators including butterflies, wasps, hoverflies and bees. This is simply because dianthus are loaded with nectar.
It’s not just pollinators that love dianthus. You’ll find some caterpillars hiding in them, beetles, lacewings and moths.
Which Varieties of Dianthus Attract Butterflies?
Luckily, all varieties of dianthus are attractive to butterflies. In fact, it is hard to keep butterflies away from these bold and pretty plants.
Butterflies can see the bright blooms and smell their sweet scents from far away. Then they zoom in on what plants will provide the most food.
Dianthus plants have clusters of flowers. Clusters of flowers offer one of the best options for hungry butterflies. Since they do not need to fly or move much to find an abundance of nectar to eat, butterflies enjoy resting on the flower clusters and consuming an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Planting companion plants that also are ideal for butterflies will help keep these winged beauties in your garden space for much longer.
Try to choose plants and shrubs that offer shade and shelter for butterflies, or try to add a butterfly house or hotel.
It is also important to incorporate water for butterflies. A low-lying dish with a small amount of water and marbles allows butterflies to take a drink safely without worrying about falling in or drowning.
Placing flat rocks throughout your garden allows butterflies to rest and warm their wings. For optimal flying capacity, butterflies need to stretch and warm their wings in the sun.
If the butterfly is cold, the muscles in its wings will not work correctly. Adding small and simple elements that help a butterfly feel at home will greatly increase the number of butterflies you see in your garden space.
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Why Do Butterflies Like Dianthus?
There are really simple things to think of when deciding what to plant for a butterfly garden. Butterflies want an easily obtainable and bountiful food source. This is usually done in the way of flowers.
Butterflies’ main food source is nectar from flowers. When choosing flowers, tubular-shaped blooms or open-face style flowers are the best options.
Butterflies have a special mouthpiece that acts as a straw. This easily enters the tubular flowers for access to nectar.
Open-face flowers like asters, daisies, or zinnias offer easy access for butterflies and other pollinators to find the inner nutrition of nectar. These flowers also offer a stable footing for the butterfly to rest on while eating.
In addition to having nectar that is easy to access, bountiful flowers is another thing that butterflies look for.
Flowers that grow in clusters like dianthus and hydrangeas offer the butterfly the luxury of enjoying many flowers without moving much.
You will also have to account for season-long food sources. If all your flowers bloom at once, butterflies will look elsewhere for food when your blooms fade. Growing flowers that alternate blooming times are ideal for keeping your garden full of butterflies.
Try to encourage flowers that begin blooming very early in the spring like dandelions or tulips, then make sure that the summer blooms are blooming until early fall.
Finish the season strong with flowers that are blooming all the way to the first frost. Dianthus is a great option for all your butterfly garden needs.
Dianthus might be a popular option for filling gaps in beds, but the good news doesn’t end there. Dianthus are loved by butterflies as well as other pollinators because they’re loaded with plenty of nectar.