Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden
Experience the joy of butterflies in your garden
Cultivating a special home for butterflies in your garden will not only be a fun family project, but you will enjoy watching these magnificent insects for many years to come. There are basic things to remember when planning and implementing a butterfly garden:
Attract Butterflies with Food:
- Plant Nectar-producing Flowers and Bushes: Butterflies love nectar. Use several of these nectar-producing plants to attract them: milkweed, azalea, goldenrod, black-eyed Susan, zinnia, aster, phlox, Japanese honeysuckle, and ironweed. A few nectar-producing shrubs are butterfly bush, various fruit trees, privet, lilac, and redbud.
- Butterflies are attracted to color. Group clusters of the same plant together to make them more visible to the butterflies. A group of colorful flowers attracts butterflies more than a single flower.
- Butterflies love sunlight: Make sure that the butterfly-attracting plants are exposed to direct sunlight for much of the day.
Provide a Butterfly Feeder:
- Butterfly Feeders & Food ... fill them with ...
- Fruit: Cut up / mash favorite fruits, such as bananas, watermelon or apples. Change the fruit every day or two to keep the display presentable, although the butterflies won't mind rotting food. Butterflies, such as Swallowtails, Painted Ladies, and Fritillaries (featured above), are the most likely to visit a fruit station such as this.
- Beer: You can also use beer to attract butterflies. For example, sprinkling small amounts of beer on the trees and flowers will attract butterflies and will make for an amazing experience for your guests.
Butterflies are drawn to water:
Butterfly-friendly gardens need a shallow watering hole for the butterflies to drink from. Place it in an area close to the butterfly-attracting plants/flowerbed.
- Fill a terra cotta pot or small plastic bucket with small rocks or pebbles about two inches from the brim. Add water to fill the remaining space.
- Recycle an old Frisbee. Add marbles or rocks to the bottom for weight and landing pads (or a flat stone, a brick, or something organic and heavy that you have handy).
- Sink a broken cup into the ground or into a large pot of plants on your deck or balcony. Cut up a sponge to fit into the cup or stuff it in a well-rinsed net shower scrubber. Keep the cup filled with water.
- Fill an old pizza or jelly roll pan with water to provide a shallow puddle on a sunny day. Line the pan with a cotton tea towel or paper towel.
- Sink a large plate, an old baking dish, or a shallow ceramic bowl into the ground and fill it with sand. Wet the sand thoroughly and make sure it stays constantly damp.
Provide Butterflies a Place for their Eggs:
- Female butterflies need host plants on which they can lay their eggs. Some host plants include: Asters, Clovers, Daisies, Dill, Snapdragon, Milkweed, Parsley, Wild Carrot aka Queen Anne's Lace, and Violets. (pictured below).
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