An Introduction to Butterfly Gardening


In order to attract butterflies to your garden, you have to make your yard more inviting to them. You’ll need to provide plants that the caterpillars can use, food for the adult butterflies, and a good place for the butterflies to breed.

Most varieties of butterflies will also need some sort of shelter from wind. Although they really like open areas with a lot of sun, you’ll probably need to provide some sort of windbreak to protect them from high winds that can disturb them.

Butterflies often congregate by the edges of mud puddles. You’ve probably seen this before. It isn’t known exactly why butterflies enjoy mud puddles so much, but it’s thought that it may be certain minerals that are present in the muddy water. If you want to attract a lot of butterflies, you might consider keeping some damp areas in your garden.

Female butterflies need plants that can be eaten by the caterpillars that hatch from their eggs. Black swallowtails prefer dill and parsley, for example. Monarch butterflies typically only lay their eggs on milkweed. Female butterflies spend a lot of time searching for these plants to lay their eggs on.

Adult butterflies eat nectars from various flowers. Flowers that contain a lot of nectar are especially attractive to butterflies. These flowers are usually brightly colored and sweetly scented. Some species of butterflies feed on the honeydew produced by aphids. Some even feed on plant spa, bird feces, or rotting fruit!

Your butterfly garden should contain at least one big patch of flowers that will attract butterflies. You may want to get flowers that bloom in sequence, because this will keep butterflies visiting your garden more often.

You should bear in mind that many flowers that are preferred by butterflies are considered weeds. For example, dandelion is very attractive to several types of butterflies. Thistle is another weed that many types of butterflies enjoy.

If you have an herb garden or vegetable garden, you may notice some butterflies congregating on some of your plants there. The European cabbage butterfly enjoys broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables. The black swallowtail often frequents herbs such as dill and parsley.

Don’t use insecticides in your garden unless absolutely necessary, because they can kill caterpillars. Some insecticides can also kill the adult butterflies if they light on plants that have been treated, or if they drink nectar that was polluted by poison.

Some flowers you should plant if you like to attract butterflies include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, herbs like parsley and dill, and many types of flowers. Some great flowers for butterfly gardens include asters, lilacs, verbena, zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, sunflowers, thistles, butterfly bush, bee balm, and sweet pea.

Making your garden hospitable for butterflies doesn’t take a lot of extra work. Simply keeping a small wet area for them and planting a few plants that they’ll enjoy is often enough to attract a number of butterflies.

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Learn more here in our online Guide for Choosing the Right Type of Gardening for You and Your Home Garden.: Gardening Tips For Beginners.

You can also learn here about how to make your own tower garden to help you grow a beautiful garden in small spaces.

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