Some Tips On Planting
Your Butterfly Garden
Why start a butterfly garden? Here are just a few of the reasons:
- Butterfly gardens are beneficial to the environment.
- Native plants thrive in your local area gardens, much more so than commercial
and foreign varieties.
- We are responsible for destroying many wildlife habitats. Starting a butterfly
garden is one way you can help preserve, protect and possibly assist in bringing
back many species of butterflies to your area.
- The pure enjoyment of watching butterflies in your own garden.
- Just follow these steps to enjoy the wondrous sight of butterflies flitting from
flower to flower in the sunlight during the spring, summer and fall. And then
in the winter, you can visit Magic Wings and enjoy our butterflies!
1) Grow lots of Nectar Plants
The main food of adult butterflies is nectar from flowers. Group different flowers
together to make them more enticing to butterflies. Include different types, sizes
and heights of nectar flowers throughout the blooming season and create a 360ΒΊ
line of sight for the butterflies.
Pentas is a good nectar source.
Look closely and you can see a female Giant Swallowtail laying her eggs on a
citrus plant. Her abdomen is extending forward to deposit one egg at a time on
2) Grow Caterpillar Food (Host) Plants
Caterpillars require different menus than adult butterflies. They eat the leaves
and sometimes flowers and seeds of certain plants. The adult female butterfly
chooses specific plants and then lays her eggs on them. By planting larval food
plants, you will attract egg-laying female butterflies to your garden.
|3) Choose a Sunny Location Sun is important for both butterflies and flowers. Butterflies need sun to keep
their bodies warm enough to fly, eggs and caterpillars are able to develop more
rapidly when they are warm and sunshine is necessary for flowers to grow.
Providing lots of sunlight to your garden benefits butterflies, plants and flowers.
These 3 Julias are sunning themselves (basking) on this rock in our conservatory.
4) Provide Shelter & Resting Spots
Your butterfly garden needs to be sheltered from the wind. Butterflies won't
have to worry about expending extra energy fighting wind currents and their body
temperatures won't be cooled down by the breezes. Warm, sheltered areas help flowers
bloom earlier in the spring and keep blooming longer in the fall. Additionally,
place large rocks in strategic locations that get the full sun, so that butterflies
can bask in the warmth.
5) Do Not Use Pesticides Butterflies are insects, so pesticides that rid your garden of insect pests
will also rid your garden of butterflies. This includes the use of the bacterial
insecticide BT, which will kill butterfly larvae (caterpillars). Research natural
methods to keep your garden healthy. Check your garden daily for common garden
pests. If you do detect aphids or beetles, a fine spray of the garden hose should
get rid of them.
Protect larvae by not using pesticides.
| So you don't have a house with a yard? No problem. A butterfly garden can bloom from your deck or balcony or even a window box.
Butterflies have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. They can identify their
favorite plants from miles away and travel long distances just for the nectar.
The trick is to include colorful flowering nectar plants and maybe a host plant
or two for specific butterflies. Careful planning will result in the perfect invitation
to those winged creatures for long term residency to your butterfly garden.|