Make your garden butterfly-friendly to bring color and movement to the landscape while aiding in the pollination of flowers, fruit, and vegetable plants.
Urbanization is increasingly shrinking butterflies’ natural habitats, leaving these important pollinators with fewer places to feed, mate, and lay eggs. Want to help change that? Build a butterfly garden!
Whether you have an entire field to work with or just the corner of a balcony, here are a few things to keep in mind when constructing your butterfly-friendly garden:
Butterfly gardens don’t have to be large. You can grow plants in containers on a patio or even in hanging pots and window boxes. Every plant counts!
Butterflies use the sun to maintain their body temperature, so place your garden in the sunniest location possible. This will allow the butterflies to soak up the sun’s rays, which is especially important in the morning.
The key to attracting butterflies is to provide them with lots of different nectar sources; they also prefer to feed on open, tube-shape flowers. See our article on Plants that Attract Butterflies to discover which flowers are best for these pollinators.
All butterflies start out as caterpillars that require host plants on which to feed. Many of these are native plants—”weeds” and wildflowers that may already be growing on or near your property. Some native, butterfly-benefitting choices include clovers, milkweeds, goldenrod, and violets.
After a rain, you may see butterflies congregating around a puddle or damp area in the garden to drink and extract minerals from the soil. Maintaining a puddle or a birdbath in the same spot will keep butterflies coming back.
Butterfly gardening has become big business. Butterfly farms offer live butterflies to release at special occasions, especially weddings. We think it’s a good idea—filling the air with butterflies might just lessen a few in the stomachs of the bride and groom!