How To Attract Butterflies: Creating A Butterfly Garden

Joy Us garden
by Joy Us garden
2 Materials
8 Hours

When you create a butterfly garden, you want to think about the whole life cycle of a butterfly. Here we will go through the steps to take to create a butterfly garden.

Step 1: Plant Selection

You will want to have 2 specific types of plants: nectar plants and host plants.

Host plants are where females lay their eggs so when a caterpillar emerges it already has a food source. For example, milkweed plants are host plants for Monarch caterpillars. Nectar Plants are what an adult butterfly will feed off of.

Having a variety of sizes will attract a variety of different-sized butterflies and different butterfly species. The type of nectar flower is also important; flat flowers are easy to drink from. Nothing tubular – leave those for the hummingbirds.

Bright flowers attract butterflies especially; red, orange, yellow, purple, and pink. There are some colors that aren’t as attractive to butterflies such as blue and green.

You can go with perennial plants or annuals, such as Penta, Zinnia, Gaillardia, Purple Coneflowers, and Bee Balm.

Photo below: A common Buckeye on a Sea Lavender (Limonium) this is a plant that attracts butterflies.

Step 2: Provide A Source Of Shelter

When adult butterflies visit your beautiful garden they are in search of a butterfly sanctuary, somewhere where they feel safe and protected. This is what will also ensure that new generations of butterflies will hatch right in your yard. It’s always fun spotting a chrysalis on one of your plants.

So when thinking about starting your butterfly habitat try choosing a location that’s sheltered from strong winds. The butterflies don’t like it and besides, they’ll blow right away.

Photo below: A red bird of paradise planted near a wall offers shelter from the wind.

Step 3: Plant In Mass

Another thing to consider is grouping plants together as this offers more shelter for the butterflies. Plant in mass, having some variety in the types of plants, as well as sizes.

The right plants play an essential role in butterflies being able to complete their life cycle. So as long as you’re planting one plant, why not plant three.

Photo below: An example of planting in mass, there are a variety of colors and heights of the plants.

Step 4: Add A Butterfly House

A great addition to can consider is a butterfly house. A butterfly house is exactly what it sounds like, a protective house for butterflies with small slats that allow butterflies to enter and just small enough to keep out any predators. Butterfly houses can be incorporated into your garden. They come in a variety of styles and colors and can show off your personality.

Photo below: This is an example of a butterfly house.

Step 5: Add A Butterfly Puddling Station

Have you ever seen a group of butterflies all congregating near shallow puddles? Butterflies love muddy puddles because of all the minerals they get from sipping on the water. They can’t live on sugar alone and they need vitamins and minerals just like humans.

There is an easy way you can replicate a muddy shallow puddle, by taking a saucer or shallow dish and filling it with wet sand, flat rocks, and water. Place this in your butterfly garden and watch the butterflies congregate around it.

You can also add a puddling stone to your garden. This is a shallow watering station that butterflies can drink water from.

Photo below: Butterflies like to congregate at this DIY puddling station.

This is the bird/butterfly waterer in Nell’s back garden. The rock & glass chips insure that the butterflies don’t drown while getting a drink.

Step 6: Add Some Fruit

Nectar sources are the staple of butterfly diets but did you know some butterflies also love fruit? They can’t chew it but can drink it, so adding slices of oranges and watermelons to your garden is a great way to attract more butterflies.

Photo below: A butterfly enjoying some orange slices.

Ongoing Steps: Maintenance

To maintain your butterfly garden throughout the season pruning is vital. Deadheading is the act of cutting off old blooms to reinvigorate the plant and encourage repeat blooming. This is also a great way to get yourself outdoors and hands-on in your garden

Photo below: Pruning a red bird of paradise, to promote repeat blooming.

Suggested materials:
  • Butterfly House   (Etsy)
  • Puddling Station   (Etsy)
Joy Us garden
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