How To Make A Butterfly Garden

How To Make A Butterfly Garden

butterfly 3
By brockvicky from Flickr.com

It is fun to have a butterfly garden and be able to see all of the different butterflies that live near you.  There are things you can do to attract butterflies to your garden by planting a range of butterfly flowers and butterfly plants that provide nectar to the adult butterflies and food for the larvae as well as provide water and shelter for them.  That way they can go through their complete life cycle right there in your garden. Now is a good time to start planning if you want one for this summer.

Here is a brief video on how to make a butterfly garden.

 

In order to attract butterflies to your garden, you will need food for both the adult butterflies and larvae, as well as shelter and water.  It is a good idea to find out what kinds of butterflies live in your area and then buy plants that adults use for nectar and the larvae use for food.  These may or may not be the same plant.  

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar on Queen Anne's Lace
By anolobb from Flickr.com

Keep in mind that larvae are often very specific to the plants that they feed on.  Adults will usually lay their eggs on these plants.   The larval host plants also provide shelter for the eggs and larvae, but you will want to have other plants and places that provide shelter.

Plant your butterfly flowers in sunny spots as this will attract the most butterflies.  But, make sure that there are shaded, areas for the butterflies to rest in hot weather.  Also make sure you have places to protect them from wind.

Your butterflies will also need a water source.  They like water collected in shallow spots or damp soil.  

In general, butterflies like flowers that are short, tubular or fluffy, and which they are able to crawl over as they gather nectar.  They do not like long tubular flowers, like hummingbirds do.  Examples of good butterfly flowers are lantana, liatris, black eyed susan, butterfly weed (Asclepias ), butterfly bush (is invasive in some areas)  (Here is a wonderful large list of Plants Butterflies Like.  It also shows plants that attract several different kinds of butterflies.)  

Flower Beds
By wwarby from Flickr.com

Planting drifts of color will be sure to attract butterflies that like that particular color.  Keep that in mind when choosing plants for your butterfly garden as well.

Also, select butterfly plants that provide continuous bloom or consecutive bloom.  This is another good way to keep your butterflies around for the summer.

Please dont use pesticides in your butterfly garden.  Butterflies and larvae are sensitive to them.  You don’t want to kill off the butterflies you are trying to attract.

Also, keep in mind that plants which are the food sources for the larvae Will get chewed.  If you don’t like the look, hide them behind another plant.

The Butterfly Site is a commercial site, but has some good information and ideas on providing the right habitat for butterflies and planting plans.

Making a butterfly garden will reward you with the magical creatures that butterflies are.  I hope that you have a lot of enjoyment inviting them into your garden.