How to Get Butterflies to Visit Your Yard- Grow a Butterfly Garden
A butterfly's needs are simple. Flowers for nectar, a place for shelter and a little bit of water are all you need to provide to keep them around.
Some people may like a perfectly manicured lawn, but it is not a butterfly`s favorite thing. First of all the chemicals and pesticides involved are very harmful to these little creatures.
Butterflies like flowers, and lots of them. Some they like for the nectar, some are a great place to lay their eggs. Variety is the key. Keep in mind different flowers bloom at different times of year. They need a continuous supply of nectar from late spring to early fall.
What To Plant
Look for flowers that have single, open blooms. It is easier for them to access the nectar. Colors matter. They are more attracted to medium-pale shades of purple, mauve, yellow and pink. They are not especially drawn to deep, dark colors, especially red. Stick with solid colors, not speckled or bi-colored flowers. Plant same colored flowers in large groups to make it easier for them to see as they are flying. They will visit because they know they will save energy in one large patch of same flowers.
Here are a few examples of flowers butterflies like:
- purple coneflower
- bleeding heart
- morning glory
- sweet alyssum
- sweet william
More Needs You Can Help With
Some butterflies need nutrients that are not available in nectar. Things like mud puddles, manure piles and rotting fruit will attract certain species of butterflies.
Butterflies need water too. They prefer to drink from a muddy puddle to get minerals they need from the soil. Keep your garden damp. Or put out a shallow pan with sand and fill it with water.
They also need a place to rest. They want to be protected from the wind, so plant some flowers against a fence or shrub. They like little nooks and crannies to hide from predators, such as a hollow log, wood pile or loose tree bark.
Butterflies are warm weather creatures. In fact they need long, hot summers for ideal growing conditions. If it is less than 30 degrees Celsius, they will land on a black rock or dark surface to allow their wings to absorb heat, so they can fly again.
May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
Why should I attract butterflies to my yard in the first place?
In addition to being beautiful and brightening the day of any one they flutter past, butterflies are also good pollinators. They are also in danger. Out of approximately 300 species of butterflies in Canada, 100 of them are at some level of risk of extinction. But why?
One of the main reasons is habitat loss. Many of the grassy, weedy areas that butterflies need to survive are mown down or sprayed with pesticides. What we call weeds can be a butterflies home or a good source of their food.
Help them out by having a butterfly friendly yard!