Butterfly gardens are a great way to bring life and color into your yard. Whether you have a lot of available space or just room for a few planters, planting a butterfly garden is a rewarding experience. Here are a few simple ideas that you can use to get started.
What is a Butterfly Garden?
Butterfly gardens are full-sun gardens that are filled with plants that attract butterflies. These plants are generally nectar-producing flowers. Nectar-producing flowers are usually beautiful, so you have the double benefit of attracting butterflies and adding beauty to your yard.
Butterfly gardens range from small ones consisting of just a few pots or planters, to large elaborately planned spaces. Butterflies are present in almost every region of the world, so with the right plants virtually any spot can become a haven for them.
Selecting a Site
As with many types of gardens, placement is a critical decision that will determine the success of the entire project. For optimal growth and butterfly attraction there are a few important requirements to keep in mind as you choose the location for your garden. Let’s look at each factor in a little more depth:
- Full Sun – Butterflies thrive in the sun and the plants that attract them are typically plants that require lots of sunlight. When choosing your location, look for an area where there will be plenty of sun throughout the day.
- Pesticide Free – While you might not consider a butterfly to be a pest, the same probably isn’t true for your pesticides. Most pesticides kill or repel butterflies. Organic growing methods are a great choice for a butterfly garden. Choose an area where pest control isn’t necessary or where you can limit your use of chemicals.
- Protection From Wind – Butterflies are delicate and like sunny areas with very little wind. By creating a sheltered garden you will attract more butterflies. You can create a sheltered area in more than one way. Some gardeners choose to build barricades or fences around the outskirts of their garden. Others find that planting tall plants and shrubbery can work well also. If you choose to plant bushes or shrubbery considering using plants that butterflies like to lay their eggs on since this can lead to more butterflies in your garden.
Here are some links to help you learn more about butterfly gardening.
You will find that there is plenty of variety when it comes to finding plants for your garden. Try to find plants that are specifically intended for attracting butterflies in your region. Consult your local Cooperative Extension Service for suggestions on native plants. You will want to include nectar producing flowers to bring the butterflies into your yard and some plants that butterfly larvae will feed on. Don’t fill your garden with exotic plants. Your goal is to attract the butterfly species native to your area and while exotic and non-native plants may look great, they won’t bring in any butterflies.
Great Nectar Producing Plants
- Butterfly Bush
- Butterfly Weed
- Red Pentas
Butterfly Breeding Ground Plants
- Paw Paw
- Butterfly Bush
- Citrus Trees
Check out these links for more information about choosing plants for your butterfly garden.
Arranging Plants in a Butterfly Garden
Once you have done a little research and are familiar with the butterfly species and plants that will work well in your area, you can start planting. It works well to follow a professionally designed plan since this will help you to create a beautiful display that will also attract butterflies. Here are a few plans that can get you started. Customize them for your area by substituting regional plants of similar color and height.
Other Elements to Use in Your Butterfly Garden
There are a few other elements that can make beautiful touches to your butterfly garden and that can attract additional butterflies. Many gardeners supplement the nectar that their plants produce with nectar feeders. This can be a great way to bring keep up with the necessary nectar supply without devoting additional space to more nectar producing plants.
Other gardeners find that decorative and practical elements like bird baths or a butterfly house make a nice addition. You may also want to consider having a small puddle of wet sand in your garden since this can keep your butterflies cool even in warmer temperatures. Rocks provide a warm place for butterflies to sit in the sun.
Learn more about the other elements that you can use in your butterfly garden by following these links.
With a little effort, you will find that a butterfly garden will provide hours of enjoyment, education and beauty to your home.