When my son converted my patio into a butterfly garden, I was rather skeptical. He wanted a wild garden, somewhat unkempt where vines creep up the trees and create an unruly tangly mess. I wasn't sure I could live with that.
He started putting in lots of host and food plants. Our lilies and vegetables gave way to biden, snake weed, aristolochia, rattle box pea, crown flower, milkweed, lime, curry, ixora, lantana, ylang ylang, chempaka and so forth. These are the ones I am familiar with. There are also loads of unusual ones that I can't identify.
The butterflies came and went with the seasons. At one point, we had so many tiger butterflies fluttering about every morning, it was indeed a beautiful sight. But the tigers do not practise birth control and the hungry caterpillars can strip an entire plant of their leaves in one day. Soon, their food plants stopped growing and the tigers disappeared.
However, the other plants continue to thrive, so much so that it looks like a jungle out there. With the ombination of rain and sunshine we're getting these days, the plants are florishing and flowering like crazy.
With such a abundant supply of nectar and pollen, the garden is alive with butterflies, bees and bugs. These busy pollinators keep the garden healthy and productive. I'm pleased with my messy garden.