I live in the city of Sudbury and want to grow butterfly plants on a balcony
There a number of things to consider when planning a balcony garden to attract butterflies:
- How high up is the balcony? If you are on one of the higher stories, it is harder to attract butterflies as they tend to flutter about closer to ground level where there are more flowers to feed on. There is also more wind to contend with at higher levels.
- Is the balcony sunny or shady? Butterflies prefer sunnier, warmer locations to rest and feed.
- How much room is there? Can you provide a variety of flowers? Butterflies are more attracted to areas with a diversity of nectar producing flowers.
These conditions also affect what plants you can grow and the maintenance required for the plants to flourish. In a windier location, plants dry out more quickly and taller plants may be damaged by high winds. You may have to water more frequently and stake taller flowers or grow shorter varieties. However, if you are on a lower level, you have more choice and the butterflies are more likely to find your garden. Take a look at the Toronto Master Gardeners Guide to Pollinator Gardens. There is a section on balcony gardens for attracting pollinators.
Because you are located in an area with cold winters, it is more difficult to grow and overwinter perennials in containers on the balcony but annuals are excellent choices for attracting butterflies. They flower for a long period of time so it is much easier to provide a variety of continually flowering plants for the butterflies to feed on. Don’t restrict yourself to flowering annuals. Herbs left to flower also provide nectar and you get to feed as well! Try parsley, coriander, dill, most of the mints and if you have room, a fennel with its airy fronds looks lovely. Don’t despair if you have limited room as you can always hang a feeder to supplement the nectar from flowers. I hope your summer is filled with brightly coloured wings!
Here are a couple of additional links for more information about attracting butterflies: