5.02.2014

How To Attract Butterflies To Your Garden

 Butterflies are  beautiful creatures to have in your garden.  Who wouldn't love them floating about with their brightly colored wings to decorate their garden?  There are some things you can do to ensure that your garden is filled with butterflies.

The first step is to have plants in your garden that attract butterflies.  Some plants will be for the larvae & caterpillar (young butterflies) to eat, and some will be for the mature butterflies.  Butterflies need plants to sip nectar from and plants to act as hosts for the butterflies to lay their eggs on.  The larvae and Caterpillars eat some of the plants listed. You can find a great list of some of these plants and a list of which butterflies like them on The Butterfly Website and then at The Butterfly Site there is a great state by state list of butterflies.

  I have several of the plants listed on the websites above and I can testify that the butterflies definitely come and they love the flowers.  There are butterfly mix kits that have a mixture of flowers that butterflies love but these are only good if you want a wilder cottage looking garden.  If a more ordered looking garden is what you desire then you might consider buying the seeds or plants individually so that you can place them more carefully.  "This is a case of plant them and they will come."

  Be aware that the host plants will end up with some caterpillars eating on them so they may have holes but be assured that these are baby butterflies in the making so don't harm the eggs, larvae, caterpillars or the chrysalis (butterfly mummies) which are all different stages of the butterflies. Usually the plants will be defoliated but not killed by the larvae and caterpillars.  They will then grow back for the next crop of babies.
Plants to attract butterflies to your garden 2
 One important note for your butterfly garden is to never use pesticides in your garden.  They poison and kill the butterflies, along with the birds, bees, dragonflies, ladybugs, fireflies, and many other beneficial creatures.  There are ways to treat your gardens for fungus, disease, and even bad bugs that will not kill the beneficial creatures such as encouraging the good bugs to come that will eat the bad ones.  There is great information on gardening organically everywhere on the Internet, and at the library.  I learned much of my organic ways from some old timer friends who garden the ways their family members before them did.
Plants to attract butterflies to your garden 3

Water is also an important factor for attracting butterflies.  Butterflies love to drink from shallow puddles on the pavement or you can make a butterfly bath for them by putting sand or mud in a shallow dish or even a shallow birdbath and then adding enough water to make small puddles but not enough for them to drown in.  The males especially love these.  They take salts and nutrients from the sand.

 For an extra treat you can pour a regular sugared (not sugar free) Gatoraid in the sand to give them even more nutrients.  Make sure it is not one of the energy drinks with caffeine or sugar substitutes in them.

Another great treat to offer the butterflies is fresh fruit. Place water in a shallow dish and put something to act as a pedestal in the water then set a plate of fruit on that pedestal to keep the ants away. Butterflies love all kinds of fruit especially overripe fruit.  Some butterflies require the nutrients that overripe fruit offers.  Some fruits that you can try are sliced oranges, apples, bananas, kiwi, strawberries, chunked watermelon, mango, pineapple, plums & berries, etc.  Inspiration Green offers more really great tips for feeding butterflies with fruit (with pictures!).

Butterflies also require sunny warm spots to bask and warm themselves in.  For that purpose make sure you have some flat stones in nearby sunny spots that are sheltered from the wind, for them to rest on.
Just a few simple things and you should have pretty butterflies everywhere.  The only thing to do at that point, is to enjoy their beauty as they float and flutter about your yard.


Read Some More:

Butterfly Days

San Antonio Zoo

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