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Lets Build And Grow A Butterfly Garden

Updated on June 19, 2013
Parts Of An Adult Butterfly.
Parts Of An Adult Butterfly.
Beautiful Monarch Butterfly
Beautiful Monarch Butterfly

Watch the Amazing Butterfly Life Cycle

Life Cycle Of The Butterflies

Time-lapse of Butterfly Lifecycle

California's state insect- Dogface Butterfly Life Cycle Documentary

The Butterfly Movie: "Flutter Serenade"

Swallowtail Butterfly Life Cycle

Complete Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly

Photo Of A Beautiful Monarch Butterfly
Photo Of A Beautiful Monarch Butterfly

Facts About Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterflies weigh about as much as a penny but have wings that are as strong as steel.

They lay their eggs on milkweed and their caterpillars will only feed on milkweed. It makes the butterflies poisonous to birds and other predators.

Monarch butterflies live up to six weeks but the fifth generation instead of reproducing live on the body fats they have stored up and they go on a 3000 mile journey that is so miraculous.

It is just simply amazing what they do. They have never been there before but they travel over 3000 miles to a 50 acres pine forest near Michoacan Mexico ( Near Mexico City ) and its just amazing that these butterflies can do this. They are known to travel over 200 miles a day and it will take them several months to make their journey there. Sometimes up to 10 million butterflies will roost in a single tree.

And then in mid to late March these same butterflies that traveled south will mate and the butterflies that emerge will make the 3000 mile journey back north to the United States and southern Canada. No other butterfly and few birds make this same type of incredible journey.

What has always amazed me is how in the world do these butterflies know what they know. How can they possibly make this journey. They have to be born knowing the way back south to Mexico where it all starts over each and every year.

Somehow these butterflies are born with the knowledge of where they are supposed to go programed into them. And some how they know when it is time to go. It truly is one of natures greatest mysteries.

What do you think about the incredible journey that Monarch butterflies take? How do you think they do it? I really would like to hear what everyone thinks. Just post your comments below in the comment section and let us know what you think.

Buy A Butterfly Identification Book.

If your going to be doing butterfly gardening you need a butterfly identification book so you know what the butterflies you are looking at are. If you want butterflies to reproduce in your area you have to know what kinds of butterflies they are and what host plants do they lay their eggs on.

You really need a butterfly book that has good color photos of not only the butterflies but also their caterpillars. This way you will know exactly what you are looking at and what plants and flowers you need to plant to keep the butterflies in your butterfly garden.

Research Is Important.

Doing research is going to be one of the most important things you can do especially if you are really serious about butterfly gardening. The more you learn the better off you will be. And the more you will know about butterfly gardening.

Keep A Journal

Most people don't realize it but you really should keep a journal so that you can keep carefully detailed notes about your butterfly garden and what goes on in it. You should also think about buying a good camera with a good telephoto lens on it so you can take good photos of the butterflies in your butterfly garden. You can add your photos to your journal and have some great memories.

What Is A Butterfly Garden?

Butterfly gardening is planting flowers that you know will attract butterflies. Certain flowers and plants will attract certain butterflies. If your careful with what you plant you'll attract all kinds of these beautiful creatures to your garden to watch and enjoy.

Butterflies are one of natures top pollinators and they are responsible for pollinating one third or more of all the fruits and vegetables raised each year in the United States. But huge amounts of butterflies have been killed by pesticides. That's one of the reasons that it is so important that we use as few pesticides as possible.

Butterflies are attracted to flowers that have nectar. That is one of the most important things to keep in mind when your choosing what flowers to plant. You should also have small shallow pools of water and flat rocks. Butterflies love flat rocks to sun themselves on. Birdbaths are perfect for butterfly gardens but dump the water out of them every day or two to combat mosquitoes. If you want to you can keep goldfish in your birdbaths and let them eat the mosquito larva.

Keep in mind that pesticides kill butterflies so you need to keep your garden as pesticide free as possible. Use traps keep pests away instead of the usual pesticides. I try my best to attract both butterflies and hummingbirds to my garden. I release ladybugs and praying mantis into my garden every year. Both of them keep the pest bugs and aphids down to where I don't have to use insecticides. My vegetable garden is behind the butter fly garden and the lady bugs and praying mantis are in my vegetable garden all the time eating pest bugs.

Plants that attract butterflies are.

1. Purple Cone Flowers.
2. Yellow Cone Flowers.
3. Sunflowers.
4. Marigolds.
5. Poppies.
6. Cosmos.
7. Salvias.
8. Asters.
9. Coreopsis.
10. Daisies.
11. Black Eyed Susans.
12. Verbenas.
13. Milkweed.
14. Zinias.

You should also plant lavender in your butterfly garden.

If you plant a combination of those plants you will have a garden full of beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds. If you want to have Monarch Butterflies to grow and reproduce in your garden you'll need to plant milk weed. Plant it behind other plants with the flowers in the front.

You want to look at the seed packs and plant your taller flowers at the back of your flower beds and the shorter plants at the front of the flower beds.

You can go as small or as large as you want with your butterfly garden. I have a huge butterfly garden that I just have paths through that I keep mowed. In the center of my butterfly garden I have a huge pond that is constantly filtered and in the pond I have some of the biggest Koi that you have ever seen. I created my own creek and water fall and it is beautiful. I have tree frogs that live along the creek which is about 100 foot long and from 6 inches deep to two foot deep. The creek flows down and over a water fall and into my big pond where my Koi are. I have a huge population of Bluegill in my creek and a few of them in the pond with the Koi.

I have hummingbird feeders hanging all around through my butterfly garden and I usually have hummingbird nests in my gardens. I buy the hummingbird feeders that the bees and ants aren't supposed to be able to eat out of. I also don't add red food coloring to my hummingbird nectar because the feeders have red on them.

Hummingbird Nectar

1 part sugar.

4 parts water

Put into a pot and boil for 5 minutes and then put into the refrigerator. This nectar is perfect for hummingbirds.

I have a bench out in my garden where I like to go and set in the evenings and watch the butterflies and hummingbirds.

Birds will eat the occasional butterfly but some butterflies like the monarch butterfly taste bad to birds and they usually leave the butterflies along. So you really can create a garden that is friendly to butterflies and birds.

But You Need To Do Good Research.

Learn everything you can about butterflies and the plants and flowers they like and plant the plants and flowers that are native to your area.

Plant your butterfly garden in as full sun as possible and it will be great if you can plant your butterfly garden where there is some protection from the wind. If you can plant it along a south facing wall that would be wonderful.

You need to plant both native host plants and nectar plants for the adult butterflies. The native host plants are what the butterflies lay their eggs on and what the caterpillars eat. Although butterflies will only lay their eggs on specific native host plants they will feed on the nectar of both native and non native plants. If you want butterflies to raise in your butterfly garden you need to plant huge numbers of native host plants near trees and shrubs so the caterpillars will have plenty to eat and a place to roost and build their chrysalis.

You need to learn what particular butterflies are likely to be in your area and what native host plants you need to plant for that particular butterfly.

If you do your research you'll find that butterflies especially love red, purple, orange, and yellow colored flowers and butterfly plants are a perfect nectar plant to have in your garden for the butterflies.

Plant host plants like parsley, wild geraniums, and forget-me-nots for the first butterflies to emerge in spring.

Some Butterfly Facts You May Not Know.

1. There are over 750 species of butterflies in the United States.

2. In the United States there are butterflies as small as a nickle or as large as two of a grown man's hands.

3. Believe it or not but their feet act as sensors for them and when their feet touch something sweet their tongues come out.

4. As hard as it may be to believe a butterflies tongue may be as long as three times the length of their bodies.

5. Butterflies drink from water droplets and from very shallow pools of water.

6. It is the pollen or nectar from flowers that feeds the butterflies and provides them with the energy they need to live.

7. When butterflies feed on flowers they also pollinate the plants.

Gardening Tips : How to Make a Butterfly Garden

Purple Cone Flowers (echinacea purpurea)
Purple Cone Flowers (echinacea purpurea)
Birds Love Sunflowers And When The Sunflowers Get Ripe The Birds Show Up. Cardinals Love Sunflowers.
Birds Love Sunflowers And When The Sunflowers Get Ripe The Birds Show Up. Cardinals Love Sunflowers.

Insect Lore Butterfly Garden Instructions

More Information About Butterfly Gardens.

I've hunted my flat rocks you'll find throughout my butterfly garden and other gardens for years. Every once in a while I'll find a new rock and have to find a place for it. Butterflies love flat rocks as do lizards. I have a healthy population of green anoles in my garden and I see them all the time on my flat rocks.

I have several small pools of water scattered through out my gardens and these I empty and fill back up about every 48 hours to keep the water fresh and to keep the mosquitoes down. I have bat houses up on buildings and poles above these small pools of water and the bats love the shallow pools of water.

What I try to do is make my butterfly garden and vegetable garden as natural as possible and I try to use bats, lady bugs, preying mantis, and lizards to keep down all the pests. I have also put in lots of toad houses and tree frogs moved in on their own.

And the butterflies love it. They show up in huge numbers and many lay eggs and their young raise in my gardens all the time. I have monarch butterflies show up every year because they know they will find milk weed waiting and ready for them. I also have plenty of marigolds and they also seem to love them as do other butterflies. I plant at least two rows of marigolds in my vegetable garden each year usually on either side of my tomatoes and I rarely ever have any pests on my tomatoes.

You can create a perfect environment for butterflies and you will be rewarded with being able to watch these beautiful creatures on a daily basis. Just be sure not to use pesticides because the pesticides will kill your butterfly friends. You want to make your butterfly garden as environmentally friendly as you can.

I have birdhouses of various sizes scattered through out my gardens to encourage birds to nest and hang around. I have had bluebirds living in my yard for years and I'm always happy to see them come back every year. I have bird feeders in front of a couple of my windows and I just love to see all the birds come in to eat. In the winter when everything else is dead or gone south for the winter I have many birds show up to eat.

And in the spring when the flowers first start putting on flowers the butterflies show up. I like to go and just set on the ground among them and watch what they are doing. Often when the marigolds start putting on flowers I will be surrounded by monarch butterflies and I'm always honored when one sets down on me for a minute or two. And I always make sure I have their milk wed planted and ready for the monarchs when they show up.

A fun thing you can do for your kids is to order a butterfly kit like in the video above and let them raise a butterfly through its various life cycles until it becomes a beautiful butterfly. You can then release the butterfly or butterflies into your garden. Kids just love watching the butterfly change from a caterpillar into a butterfly.

I keep a journal where I write down notes about the butterflies in my butterfly garden. If I see a butter fly or its caterpillar eating on a particular plant I write it down. I have learned so much I didn't know about butterflies by keeping a well detailed journal.

If you ever need any help with your butterfly garden I'll be glad to answer any questions you may have. I also welcome your tips, suggestions and comments about butterfly gardens. I want to thank you for taking the time to read this Hub Page on Butterfly Gardens.

If you found this information helpful please send the link to this page to your friends. And thank you in advance. I hope you have a nice day.

Swallowtail Butterfly
Swallowtail Butterfly

Post any comments you may have about Butterflies and Butterfly Gardens now. And thanks for reading.

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    • SolveMyMaze profile image


      5 years ago

      This is a really cool hub. We don't really see a lot of butterflies in my part of the world, but I'd love to set up my own butterfly garden. I had no idea that the list of plants that attract butterflies would be so big! At least that way you can have a lot of variation in your garden.

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

      Great information and enjoyed your hub. Love butterflies and birds. We also have bird houses all around our yard. Voted Up.

    • crazyhorsesghost profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Byers 

      6 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Your very welcome. Butterflies to me are some of the most wonderful creatures on earth.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Awesome! Thanks for all the great information. I knew some of this, but you filled in the rest of the details. Thank you so much.

    • myawn profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      milkweed is what the butterfly likes so I will go get some. I love to watch butterfly's they are so pretty.Nice hub about the plants they like.

    • crazyhorsesghost profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Byers 

      6 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Yes milkweed is what they go after and what makes it so birds can't eat them though a few do manage to. Thanks for the comment mate.

    • Paradise7 profile image


      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Fascinating info and lovely pics. Thank you! We had milkweed at the old home place; also the most beautiful monarch butterflies. I never made the connection until now.

    • crazyhorsesghost profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Byers 

      6 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Thanks for your kind words. Its really easy to plant flowers that attract beautiful butterflies to your garden.

    • Sandy Frost profile image

      Sandy Frost 

      6 years ago from India

      It always becomes a delightful moment when we catch a glimpse of beautiful butterflies lingering over flowers. I'll feel glad whenever I could culture them in my garden by implementing these methods.

      Thanks for sharing such a useful information. I bookmarked this hub and voted up..


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