How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden

Discussion in 'Butterfly / Moth' started by Frank, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. Frank

    Frank GardenStew Founder Staff Member Administrator

    Jan 25, 2005
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    Galway, Ireland
    The flittering of the butterfly through your garden is no accident if you planned your garden carefully. The adult butterfly flitters from flower to flower - sipping nectar from many flowers in your gardens, while other adult butterflies search for areas to lay their larvae. It is good to take note that the butterfly garden is going to differ from other areas of your garden. Your natural instincts will be to kill off pests, larvae and creatures in the garden, but in the butterfly garden your best results are noticed when you use organic gardening: Which means no chemicals at all.

    In you want to include the use of butterflies in your landscape you will need to create a safety zone for your butterflies to feel safe. Butterflies frequent habitual zones, where they feel safe and where areas of the landscape meet with the tree lines. Creating your butterfly gardens near or around trees will help in attracting even more of these graceful creatures to your gardens.

    A tip in attracting the Black Swallowtail or the Anise Swallowtail is this: Plant parsley, dill or fennel in your gardens, these plants attract this certain butterfly. If these herbs are not your favorites, you can attract other types of butterflies using other flowers. To attract the Fritillary butterfly for instance, plant Lupine flowers your garden. Or you may want to consider planting Snapdragons to attract butterflies that are native in your own area. Your early butterfly gardens are going to attract butterflies only in passing, but creating and growing the gardens that offer a safe haven for the butterfly will urge them to stay in your garden.

    Butterflies are attracted to areas of your gardens where they can gather food for their offspring. The caterpillar will eat from the plants while the adult butterflies will sip on the nectar of the flowers. As your plants, shrubs, and flowers mature, the amount of butterflies to your gardens will also increase. The plants and flowers that you put in your garden this year will attract only a few, but in the years to come the natural instinct of the butterfly will lead them to your garden.

    What is the adult butterfly searching for in your gardens? The butterfly searches for areas to take shelter from the high winds, the rains, and the summer storms. This is where the trees and shrubs in your gardens become important in protecting the butterfly and offering shelter. During the normal, warm sunny summer day the butterfly wants the wide-open areas of your lawn and garden.

    Butterflies will seek soft soil that is sandy-like to find water. The sand-like soil that allows water to puddle up after a rainstorm is a butterflies delight. The developing stages of the caterpillar to the butterfly are observed often in the established butterfly garden.

    By creating the atmosphere in the garden that offers the shelter, food, water and the fragrance the butterfly is searching for you will have Butterfly Garden success.

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  3. gardenplansireland

    gardenplansireland Seedling

    Jan 26, 2005
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    west of ireland
    Don't forget to include the king of butterfly attracting shrubs in you garden, it is of course Buddleia davidii commonly known as the butterfly bush.
    Choose from "Peace" which is white, "Black knight" which is a dark purple or "Royal red", "Naho blue which are as the names suggest.
  4. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

    Feb 7, 2005
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    Why not try setting up butterfly feeding stations in your garden too. These give a better opportunity to take photographs of the dufferent types of butterfly which frequent your garden. Using any flat surface that is approx 1' off the ground (an old tree stump would do) place some very ripe fruit, cut in half, ie bananas, oranges, peaches onto your surface and simply wait. One drawback of this type of feeding station is that it doesn't just attract butterflies - it also attracts wasps and flies but is worth trying as butterfly species can be easily counted for wildlife surveys etc.

    Another type is the liquid feeding station. Fill a caged bird's water bottle (these can be obtained cheaply from almost any pet store) with a dilute solution of sugar and water and suspend from a tree branch. Butterflies love them. You can watch the proboscis uncurling and dipping into the liquid as the butterfly feeds.

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