Butterflies are one of the most loved insects because of their appearance. Butterflies aren’t just pretty to look at either, they also help with pollination. To attract these beauties to your garden plan to include plants they like, and encourage their growth cycle. Below you will find a guide to creating your very own butterfly garden.
How To Make A Butterfly Garden:
Select a location - You will want a spot with enough sunlight to support your plants. Most plants ideal for butterfly gardens will require full sunlight. Having a spot with some shade wouldn’t be bad for a nice observation area for you though.
Choose Flowers - Butterflies don’t necessarily like all flowers. Be sure to select varieties and types that are appealing. When looking for butterfly-friendly flowers consider providing different heights, native flowers for your region, and variety for continual blooms.
Butterflies prefer pink, red, orange, white, yellow, and purple colored blooms, although you can include other colors. You will also want to include plants that provide plenty of nectar for mature butterflies. To help promote a good population, you will also want to provide host plants. These are plants that can feed the caterpillar and butterflies throughout their growth cycle. We have included a list of recommendations following this article.
Use Organic, Homemade Bait - To help attract butterflies to your area you will want more than flowers. A bait is simply a sugar or yeast-based source of their essential nutrients. You can use rotting fruit, white sugar, molasses, and beer. Add your bait to rocks, tree stumps, and dishes around your garden area.
Water Source - Add a water source that resembles what a butterfly would use in the wild. Create muddy water using water, soil, sand, and pebbles. You can keep it in a dish, stonework, or pond.
Shelter - In the wild butterflies use plants and other structures for shelter throughout their growth stages. For your garden, you will want to create a structure, such as a box, where the mature butterfly can find shelter and caterpillars can mature through metamorphosis. If you have ever been to a butterfly enclosure, you have likely seen a box like we are describing where you can see several chrysalis hanging.
Avoid Pesticides - When creating a butterfly garden you will want to avoid using any pesticides, even organic ones. Instead, focus on controlling pests by companion planting. Companion planting is the use of plants that mutually benefit from being planted near each other. By utilizing the natural properties of a plant you can prevent pesticide overuse and promote a healthier ecological balance.
Keep A Record Or Diary - As you are first creating your garden it is important to document what you see happening. Record what plants you include and where. Keep track of when your plants bloom and how many visitors you see. To help increase the use of your butterfly garden refer back to your observations to create better baits, control pests through companion planting, and include more of the types of flowers that work best in your area.
Plants For A Butterfly Garden:
- Hummingbird and Butterfly Collection
- Save the Monarchs Collection
- Black-eyed Susans
- Joe Pye Weed
- Purple coneflowers
- Butterfly bush
- Butterfly weed
- Sweet Peas
About the Author
I'm Ashleigh Smith, a native to Northern Utah. I first gained a love of gardening with my grandmother as I helped her each summer. I decided to make a career of it and have recently graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Horticulture from Brigham Young University - Idaho. My studies have focused on plant production while I also have experience in Nursery & Garden Center Operations.
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