Building a Butterfly Garden

By Michael Albert

A butterfly garden can be a great addition to your yard. But to create a habitat suitable for butterflies, you should focus on four things; food, shelter, water and safety.

  • The more species of plants you have the more species of butterflies you have. Most plants are flowering species of plants and produce nectar for adult butterflies. Usually, plants that produce heavy scents are better for producing nectar.

Annuals produce longer bloom times then perennials in general. Caterpillars require host plants, meaning you should research what butterflies use certain plants and incorporate those plants in your garden. Native species and a few weeds are helpful to keep around in butterfly gardens. Many flowers that produce double blooms prevent the butterfly from feeding, so try to include heirloom and native cultivars. To increase food, include some grasses, trees, forbs, edibles, and lots of flowers.

  • Shelter means plants, decomposing matter, herbaceous covers and rocks that can hide or help the butterflies thrive in the changing environments of the day. By providing changing terrain in short areas, you will have more shelter for your butterflies to thrive in. Rotting logs and rocks can change temperatures, and make good additions to butterfly gardens.
  • Water is fundamental for life to flourish. Make sure you have a birdbath, small ponds or other water features somewhere close for your butterflies.
  • Don’t use chemicals in butterfly gardens. Keep the ecosystem alive. Chemicals tend to remove links in food chains and without one link you will not have the other. Keep these gardens natural for the betterment and safety of wildlife and your enjoyment.

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