We’re going to look at the basics of creating a garden that is perfect for butterflies. You need to plan a garden with the purpose of attracting butterflies, keeping them in your garden, and making the environment friendly for them to breed.
The first thing you need to do is choose several plants that produce nectar for the butterflies and will hopefully provide continuous blooms through the summer. The most important time to have blooms is mid to late summer. This is when most butterflies are most active. Flowers that produce multiple blooms on a single plant and contain a lot of nectar are best.
You probably want to choose a variety of annuals for your garden, because annuals bloom all though the season. This provides butterflies with a continuous supply of nectar, and will keep the butterflies coming to your yard all season.
Some perennials are very good for attracting butterflies. Lilac and asters are favorites for butterfly gardens. Coneflowers are a lovely wildflower that butterflies adore. Herbs such as parley, dill, and mint provide good nectar for butterflies.
You can make homemade butterfly feeders from small jars, such as baby food jars. You just drill a hole in the middle of the lid and stuff it with cotton. Then you fill the jar with a mixture of 1:9 sugar and water. (1 part sugar and 9 parts water.)
Then you can decorate the jar with brightly colored bits of felt to attract the butterflies to it. Hang it somewhere in your garden and the butterflies will come suck the “nectar” out through the cotton in the lid.
In addition to providing plants that will feed the butterflies and their larva, you’ll need to be sure your yard is hospitable in other ways. Butterflies need a bit of shelter for their eggs. You’ll need to provide some sort of windbreak around your butterfly garden, so the butterflies can lay their eggs in an area where wind won’t harm them.
They also need a mud puddle at which to congregate. Butterflies like to gather at the edges of puddles, so you’ll need to provide at least one for them. You should also be sure not to use too many pesticides around your garden.
These poisons can kill butterfly larva, and they can also harm the butterflies themselves. It doesn’t take a lot of insecticide to kill these delicate creatures. Insecticides can kill delicate caterpillars before they have a chance to grow into butterflies.
They can also kill adult butterflies when they light onto the plants to rest, or when they consume nectar that has been tainted with poison. Before you spray any of your plants, be sure the creatures you’re trying to kill are actually damaging pests.
Some butterfly larva can look remarkably similar to common garden pests, and although butterfly larvae do feed on plants, they don’t typically eat enough to do any real damage. So be sure your identification is correct before you spray.
Most flowers that are brightly-colored and sweet-smelling should attract butterflies to your garden. You should plant a wide variety of flowers, mostly annuals, if you want to attract the most different types of butterflies. Since different species are attracted to different types of flowers, having a good variety will ensure that you get the most different types of butterflies visiting your garden.