|Taina's Butterfly Page
Create a Butterfly Garden
|Home Life Cycle of the Butterfly Photos and Information Index Butterflies FAQ Updates Links Email
MORE BUTTERFLY GARDENING INFORMATION:
Butterfly Plants Butterfly Gardening Tips Urtica dioica Cirsium arvense
|Create a Butterfly Garden
Flowers and plants alone look lovely, but enter butterflies and your garden looks fantastic! By making your garden butterfly friendly is a win-win situation: you create an environment to please your eyes and soothe your soul, and you also provide a haven for the butterflies to escape the over utilization of the land.
What’s more, doing this doesn’t necessarily mean lots of work: you can start small and for example save time and energy by putting off mowing the lawn or trimming the shrubs – which is good news for anyone who doesn’t like the job. After all, a lawn resembling a golf course is like a desert for the butterflies, and the trimmed shrubs and fences simply look boring. Give your garden a life and you too will enjoy it.
The basic needs
The basic needs of the butterflies are simple: they need food, water, sunlight and shelter.
Plant your garden in sun, as flowering plants, especially those providing nectar for the butterflies, need sunlight. Butterflies use sunlight to regulate their body temperature, enabling them to fly. However, allow shady areas too, as the temperature can become too hot for the butterflies.
A rule of thumb: nectaring plants in sun, host plants and shrubs in the shade.
1) Providing food
There are two functions that plants serve for butterflies: nectar producing plants that feed the adult butterflies and host plants for the butterflies to lay their eggs on and for the caterpillar to eat.
To make it simple, you can have just three to six nectaring plants that bloom at different times, providing a steady supply of nectar for the butterflies. Shrubs like lilacs (Syringa sp.) and Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii) are great in this, and they also provide shelter for the butterflies to roost for the night. CLICK HERE for the list of nectar producing plants.
The host plants vary greatly depending on the butterfly species. The caterpillar will eat only specific plants. To determine which host plants are useful, please find out which butterfly species are local in your area. However, nettles and hops are favoured by many caterpillars, and trees like elms, poplars, aspen, and willows offer food for many caterpillars. Also by letting the local “weeds” grow at the fringes of your garden, you can’t go wrong.
CLICK HERE to find more details of host plants.
A TIP: Don’t forget the local wildflowers and weeds. They are the natural food and host plants for the butterflies in your region. All weeds may not be so pleasing to the eye, but caterpillars need them, and without caterpillars there are no butterflies! It is a good idea to dedicate a corner of these in your garden.
Important – do not use pesticides in your garden!
Doing so, all your efforts will be wasted.
2) Providing water
Butterflies need water for the minerals they can extract from it. If you do not have a ditch or a stream in the vicinity, you can create a butterfly puddle by placing a shallow dish full of sand at the ground level and keeping it moist. Butterflies prefer landing on the moist sand or dirt, where they can safely obtain moisture. You can add some salt to the water you’ll supply for the butterflies to give them the sodium they need.
3) Providing shelter
Butterflies need shelter to roost for the night, and also protection from wind and rain. Shrubs or vines or any type of fence or trees are ideal for that. An overgrown area resembles the natural habitat of the butterflies, thus attracting them and providing them protection.
Butterflies also need a place to hibernate, but to that end you seldom need to build or buy anything. Many species, depending on the stage in which they overwinter, find shelter under the leaves or in the undervegetation. Some species that overwinter as adults seek buildings and basements for that purpose; if you have a garden tool shed or the like in your garden that might be useful for that purpose. Rocks or trees may also serve that purpose.
Now you’re done - Sit back and enjoy!
Your efforts will be rewarded.
A TIP: Don’t have a garden? Or would you like to see more of butterflies?
Then why not raise butterfly awareness in your city or town, and introduce the idea of butterfly plants in public parks to your local city council or whoever is in charge. It would be lovely to see butterfly plants and butterflies in public parks as well, instead of boring sunburned lawns!
Home Butterfly Plants Butterfly Gardening Tips Photos and Information Index