Tips for Planting a Butterfly Garden
Backyard birds such as orioles, cardinals and blue jays aren’t the only colorful visitors to your yard in the summertime. Butterflies are out in force during the warm months as well, so it’s a prime opportunity to capitalize and draw even more of these stunning insects in close so you can enjoy watching them. If you’re unsure of how to do so, don’t fret, because you can read on to discover some tips on how to plant gardens that butterflies won’t be able to resist.
Planting a butterfly garden is really not that complicated or much different than planting a regular garden, as the goal is to include flowers loaded with nectar that butterflies will want to visit. For the best results, you’ll want to plant things that are appealing to both the adult and larval stages of the butterfly life cycle, choosing from a broad range of plants, wildflowers and grasses that will also provide food and shelter. Some of these – which span perennials, annuals, shrubs and herbs, among others – can include chrysanthemums, petunias, salvia, parsley, fennel and milkweed.
But merely planting the right elements of a successful butterfly garden doesn’t mean you’ll automatically have a successful butterfly garden. There’s quite a bit of planning that goes into planting what will ultimately become a haven for butterflies.
Naturally, with so many different kinds of flora growing in your garden, it’s going to be colorful. Because butterflies are attracted to different flowers by their color, it will make it easier for them if you plant a given kind of flower all together. Although you should put your garden in an area with plenty of sun for the plants, it’s also necessary to provide a few areas of shade and shelter within the garden for the butterflies as well. Not only do butterflies need places to hide from the wind, rain and predators, but they also need places to cool down in hot weather. In that same vein, it’s a good idea to include shallow water features such as small puddles or moist soil that are a popular drinking source for many kinds of butterflies. Finally, what may go overlooked is the fact that you should use pesticides in the area judiciously, as such products can easily kill butterflies. Try using alternatives to pesticide instead, such as soap or removing infected plants around butterfly gardens.
Of course, it goes without saying that in order to get the optimum results from your own garden, you should be aware of what kinds of butterflies are in your area. That way, you can tailor your garden – beyond the advice offered above – to what you personally need for your situation.
Between the usual birding and now the time spent watching butterflies in the garden you’ve planted for them, you won’t be able to drag yourself away from enjoying nature at some of its most beautiful. Happy Birding!
Written by Guest Writer Sean Peick