Brown Leaf is the forum for eco-friendly management of dry leaves. Mulching, composting and gardening are our focus areas.
Why, then are we discusisng about butterflies?
Yes, that is a valid question. Here is why..
On our forum, we constantly get questions and concerns from members regarding butterfly caterpillars. Gardeners take care of plants just like their own kids. When a caterpillar is spotted, there is a concern about well-being of the plant.
We constantly assure them, butterfly caterpillars do not harm the plants. Let them be, In fact, butterflies are the colorful bonus of gardening.
We had organised a session about butterflies by biodiversity expert, Mr. Dharmaraj Patil. You can read here about it, https://brownleaf.org/butterflies-around-us
In this first blog in the series by Mr. Raghavendra Rajadhyaksha (Khar West, Mumbai), read about setting up your own butterfly garden.
If you wish to have a Butterfly garden of your own, first of all you will have to have a rough idea of different species of Butterflies available in your area or the state you live in.
This will help you select and plant, nectar and host plants for the specific Butterflies available in your area.
Each Butterfly has a fixed set of host and nectar plants.
Nectar or flowering plants are to be planted in a sunny area where sunlight is available most times of the day.
Maximum nectoring of Butterflies happens only in sunlight. A lot of information on butterfly gardening is available on the net from experts.
I too have gathered info on this subject from the net. As my garden is totally Organic and I did not use any chemical fertilizer for plant growth nor do I use pesticides. I used home made compost, kitchen waste liquid fertilizer and fish waste fertilizer.
There was no major pest attack on plants except for Milli bug infestation on my lemon plants which I treated it, using Neem oil spray.
Also the Bael plant was often infested with mildew which I did not treat at all.
Eleven species of butterflies have completed their life cycle, outdoors with ” Zero Human Intervention “. It means, there was no indoor rearing of Caterpillars in boxes nor were the Butterflies handled after they are out of Chrysalis.
Infact they are not handled at all in any stage of their life cycle. After all they was are wild insects and should not be handled at all.
This may also encourage children do the same resulting in bad handling and permanent physical damage to the butterfly.
45+ species have been spotted and recorded visiting the garden. The garden has 20+ host and nectar plants each and has a considerable amount of weeds growing all around.
Dry leaf mulching is done to the garden soil and ground cover plants are used to cover exposed area. This keeps the soil moist for longer durations and plants withstand without water for over 12 days.
The garden is less than a 1000 sq.ft.in area.
List of Host and Nector plants I am having and the corresponding Butterfly name.
1.Bael. Blue Mormon/ Common Mormon/ Lime Butterfly.
2.Plassiflora vine. Tawny Coster
3. Turmeric . Grass Demon
4. Ixora. Monkey Puzzle
5. Bahava. Common Emigrat.
6 Badak Vel. (Aristolochia)Common Rose.
7 Son Chafa. Common Jay
8 Mussaenda. Commander
9 Bryophyllum. Red Pierrot
10 Kalaonche. Red Pierrot
11 Plumbago. Zebra Blue.
12 Lemon. Common Mormon & lime
13 Kadipatta. Common Mormon & lime
14 Powder Puff. Common Grass Yellow and Three Spot Grass Yellow Butterflies.
15 Oleander khaner. Common Crow.
16 Sankasur. Common Grass Yellow.
17 Mango. Baron, Monkey Puzzle
18 Dates. Palm fly./ Indian Palmbob
19 Ginger lillie (Son takka) Grass Demon
20 Spider Lilli. Spider Lilli Moth.
21 Crotalaria. The Tiger and Crows Butterflies congregate on this plant.
22 Senna Occidentalis, Coffee senna.Mottled Emigrant, Lemon
23 Mirabilis (four o’clock plant)
24. Cinnamomum verum. Common Mime, Tailed Jay and Narrow-Banded Bluebottle.
1 Ixora Blue Mormon.
2 Bleeding heart. Psyche.
3 Mussaenda Blue Mormon.
4 Wedelia Trilobata
5 Lantana Camara.
9. Rangoon Creeper
11. Powder Puff.
12. Pagoda plant.
13. Hamelia Patterns
14. Aristolochia. Dutchman’s pipe.
15. Scarlett Milkweed.
21. Ravenia Spectibillis.
List of Butterflies visited/ recorded in my garden.
2. Blue Oak leaf.
3. Common Albatross.
4. Chocolate Pansy.
5. Lesser Grass Blue.
6. Common Castor.
7. Common Cerulean.
8. Common Mormon.
9. Common Grass Yellow.
10. Common Emigrant.
11. Double Banded Judy
12. Common Jay
13. Common Crow
14. Dark Grass Blue
15. Evening Brown
16. Forgot Me Not
17. Glassy tiger.
18. Gram Blue
19. Grass Blue Spotted
20. Grass Demon
21. Gray Pansy
22. Great Eggfly
23. Indian Palmbob
24. Indian Wanderer
25. Lemon Emigrant.
26. Lime Blue.
27. Motted Emigrant
31. Plains Cupid.
32. Plain Tiger.
33. Stripped Tiger.
34. Pea Blue.
36. Painted Lady
37. Red Pierrot
38. Small Salmon Arab
39. Tailed Jay
40. Tawny Coster.
41. Western Striped Albatross.
42. Yellow Orange tip.
43. Zebra blue.
45. Blue Tiger.
Collage of Blooming flowers, Lifecycle completing butterflies, Visiting butterflies, Spiders and Insects.
Blog Writer: Mr. Raghavendra Rajadhyaksha, Khar West, Mumbai