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Butterfly Gardens and How to Make One

Updated on February 8, 2017

Thinking of Putting In a Butterfly Garden This Year?

Follow the tips in this hub to create your own paradise for butterflies. Then sit back and enjoy!
Follow the tips in this hub to create your own paradise for butterflies. Then sit back and enjoy!
Monarch
Monarch

Bring Butterflies Into Your Garden

There's something positively peaceful about watching a butterfly flit around your yard. Gracefully, it investigates various plants and flowers, showing off its pretty wings as it looks for some tasty treats. After a few minutes, it will generally move on to a neighbour's garden or other nearby oasis.

Usually, it is by chance that we catch a glimpse of these delicate beauties but with a little planning, you can turn your yard into a butterfly mecca. Butterfly gardens do not have to be complicated. All you need is the right mixture of sunshine, plants and treats.

Location, Location, Location

Most butterflies are sun worshipers. I understand this, as I am of the same bent. The point is, you aren't likely to attract butterflies to your shade garden. Choose a section of the yard that gets five hours or more of full sun a day. The ideal location also provides some shelter from the wind.

If you're an apartment dweller, take heart because you too can lure butterflies to your sunny windowsill, rooftop terrace or balcony.

Now that you have a good location, it's time to introduce plants and other nummies that will act as a siren call to passing butterflies.

The right plants can encourage a butterfly nursery
The right plants can encourage a butterfly nursery

Dinner Time

Depending on what part of the world you live in, you may want to investigate specific plantings. Here in North America, we commonly see the Monarch*. Different species prefer different plants but generally speaking, butterflies are attracted to groupings of colourful flowers. Select brightly coloured blooms with short tubes that will make it easy for them to get their probosces inside and suck out that sweet nectar.

To encourage a nursery, it also helps to have the right type of plants around. For us here in North America, milkweed is what provides food for Monarch larva. If you happen to have some Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot) around, you may find caterpillars, as they like to eat that particular wild flower.

* Update note 2017: Previously found in abundance, Monarchs have become nearly impossible to find where we live. That saddens me, hope their numbers will increase and we see a return of them soon.

Small tortoiseshell
Small tortoiseshell

Put Treats in Your Butterfly Gardens

Having a sunny, protected yard with lots of colourful plants is good for bringing in our little winged friends. Add a few additional treats and your yard is bound to become a butterfly magnet.

One thing you can do to up the wow factor is to create a puddle in your garden for butterflies to sip from. This will give them a place from which to draw the salt and minerals they need. Add a few flat rocks for resting and you have the perfect watering hole.

If you happen to have some fruit that's going rotten, don't throw it in the garbage. Butterflies have a sweet tooth and will appreciate you scattering small bits of peaches or plums around for them. If you don't happen to have any fruit, an alternative is a small, shallow dish of sugar water.

Butterfly Gardens Go Viral

One butterfly will tell two friends, then they'll tell two friends and pretty soon, it's standing room only. Take a number and have a seat. However, not all of your new patrons will be butterflies. Lush, healthy butterfly gardens attract a myriad of beneficial insects, which help reduce harmful pests, naturally.

Please, do not use pesticides in or near your butterfly garden. If nature doesn't take care of your pest problem, use insecticidal soaps or other non-harmful methods.

Open Your Butterfly Sanctuary Now

You're ready to get started now. Scout out a sunny, wind protected corner of the yard, a windowsill or balcony, put in butterfly plants, give them a drinking hole and some treats. Once these beautiful creatures know you're open for business, they'll return time and again. It's a win/win situation, you both benefit.

Continue to provide a safe, nurturing sanctuary and your butterfly gardens and their population will thrive. You'll be able to sit on the porch and enjoy many hours of lazy, relaxing butterfly watching.

This Old House Butterfly Garden Tutorial

Delicate and Colourful Beauty

Sorry, I don't know the name of this butterfly. It is not natural to where I live and I've never actually seen one. Would love to, though.
Sorry, I don't know the name of this butterfly. It is not natural to where I live and I've never actually seen one. Would love to, though.

A Stunner in Black and White

The stark contrast of black and white on the wings makes this one every bit as lovely as its more colourful relatives.
The stark contrast of black and white on the wings makes this one every bit as lovely as its more colourful relatives.

© 2010 Herald Daily

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    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

      Simply adding a few, appropriate plants to a vegetable garden for instance, can bring in the butterflies, good info here.

    • Herald Daily profile image
      Author

      Herald Daily 7 years ago from A Beach Online

      Hi, Bob. I hadn't thought about adding the plants to a veggie garden, that's a great idea. There'd be plenty of food and sun for butterflies there.

      Thanks for the tip and the comment.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      Beautiful hub - will definitely be looking for butterfly plants when I do up the garden this year!

    • Herald Daily profile image
      Author

      Herald Daily 7 years ago from A Beach Online

      Thanks, Enelle. Hope you get a lot of winged visitors to your garden.

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      I liked the part "Butterfly Gardens Go Viral" best on this hub, Herald Daily. A nice way to explain the concept of how butterflies are beneficial and interact in their environment - and that we should leave their environment alone as far as possible. Very nice pictures here, too. Thank you for sharing.

    • Herald Daily profile image
      Author

      Herald Daily 7 years ago from A Beach Online

      I agree, MythBuster. Nature will re-balance things, if we just let it. Adding tons of chemicals only causes harm, in my humble opinion.

      Thanks so much for coming by and commenting.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Very pretty butterflys. My father use to raise red wiggler worms. They were great for gardens since they break make a lot of holes in the soil and fertilize it as well. He use to mix household garbage accept citris or orange peels. I think he used coffee grounds. He avoided sugar because it would attract ants to his beds. God Bless.

    • Herald Daily profile image
      Author

      Herald Daily 7 years ago from A Beach Online

      Hi, Stars. I'll bet the worms loved those treats that your dad gave them. That's a great way to get nature to help you with your gardens.

      Thanks for coming by to read and comment.

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain

      Buddleia is known as the butterfly bush in the UK and I had two of these bushes in my garden that always drew lots of butterflies.

      This is a delightful and interesting hub; full of good information. I am voting it up and hitting the useful button and the beautiful button for the lovely photos of the butterflies that you have included.

    • Herald Daily profile image
      Author

      Herald Daily 6 years ago from A Beach Online

      Thank-you, Maggs! I appreciate your support and your comment.

      I'm not familiar with butterflies and bushes in your part of world but I'd be willing to bet that they're abundantly beautiful.

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