Butterflies are one of nature’s most beautiful and useful creatures, making gardening a rewarding hobby. All it takes is some planning, some sunshine, and the right plants to create an attractive butterfly garden that provides shelter and food all year round for these beneficial insects.
Create a Plan
Before you begin, it’s essential to identify which species of butterfly are commonly encountered in your area. From there, you can make note of which host plants these insects prefer so you can select appropriate flowers for your garden.
Plant a Combination of Annuals and Perennials
For optimal butterfly gardens, include an assortment of flowering plants that provide blooms throughout the growing season. A mixture of perennials and annuals allows you to switch out plantings during slow times in the season, keeping your garden from becoming monoculture and providing flowers when insects are most active. This will keep it looking vibrant all year round!
Use a Garden Diary
A garden diary is an invaluable tool to track your progress. It will allow you to determine when and where flowers were planted, how many butterflies are attracted, and whether pests are interfering with development of your garden. Plus, having written evidence of all activities undertaken will come in handy when making future decisions on what should be done next.
Create an Artificial Puddling Station
A butterfly puddling station is a shallow dish of water, sand or pebbles that offers butterflies an easy way to stay hydrated. Place one of these dishes in a sunny location within your butterfly garden so the butterflies have somewhere to puddle and stay hydrated.
Ideal location for the puddling station should be near bait stations. These stations draw butterflies to the area, giving them a chance to feed and lay eggs.
Soil Is Essential
Butterflies require healthy soil free from chemicals, particularly pesticides. Organic fertilizers can improve the fertility of your soil and reduce the need for insecticides. Furthermore, adding compost before planting improves its structure and provides essential nutrients so your butterfly plants can flourish.
Plant a Variety of Flowers
When selecting flowers for your butterfly garden, look for those that provide plenty of nectar and come in various colors. A combination of red, orange, yellow and purple blooms will attract most species.
For added visual interest, cluster your flowers together. Replanting your garden each spring and summer can also attract butterflies.
Be a Good Neighbor
A garden that attracts butterflies can also serve as an excellent habitat for birds, bees and other beneficial insects. As such, you’ll have more wildlife in your yard. Additionally, it is essential that you act as a good neighbor by leaving your garden as undisturbed as possible.