Most people who dislike insects will make an exception for butterflies. Butterflies are such lovely, graceful creatures, and they have more to offer than just adding beauty to the landscape. Butterflies help with pollinating garden plants, and their offspring can be a food source for other animals. Watching the metamorphosis from a hungry caterpillar to a gorgeous, colorful butterfly is educational and fascinating. This spring plan a butterfly garden so you can observe the life cycle of these interesting insects.
Plants with a profusion of flowers will attract adult butterflies. Butterflies sip nectar as their primary food source, so having plenty of flowers will increase your likelihood of seeing butterflies. Different species of butterflies prefer different nectar sources, so do a quick Internet search to find out which butterflies are native to your area and what flowers they prefer before you plant. However, you can’t go wrong when you plant butterfly bushes, coneflowers, zinnias, asters, and butterfly weed. Butterflies will sip from an enormous variety of flowers, but they seem to prefer flowers that are red, yellow, purple, orange, and pink. Be sure that you don’t use pesticides in your garden if you are trying to attract butterflies.
Host plants provide for butterflies at the egg and caterpillar stages. Milkweed is attractive to monarch butterflies. In fact, these interesting migrating butterflies will only lay their eggs on milkweed, and their caterpillars will only eat milkweed leaves. Clovers are always attractive as host plants, and many herbs like dill, parsley, and fennel will attract many butterflies. The adult butterflies will make up for the chewed-up leaves that the caterpillars consume.
Other Attractive Things
Butterflies rely on the air temperature to stay warm, so they need lots of sunny places in which they can warm up. Additionally, they need places to find shade when the day is scorching. A few broad, flat rocks will give butterflies safe places to rest. Butterflies also need water, so several shallow saucers of water with some small stones in the water will give them a safe, pleasant spot to drink water.
If you already garden, adding a few special features and some nectar-producing and host plants to your garden is easy. Butterfly gardening is also a great way to step into the gardening world for the first time. If you plant it, they will come.