4 Ways to Attract a Wide Variety of Butterflies to Your Garden
Butterflies can be viewed as indicators of a healthy ecosystem. Here are four simple ways to attract beautiful butterflies to your garden.
1. Combination of Nectar Sources & Larval Host Plants
Make sure your butterfly garden has a combination of plants that provide nectar for adult butterflies and plants that can serve as a food source for developing larvae.
Common nectar plants include marigold, yarrow, coneflower, violet, and butterfly milkweed. Provide a mix of flower shapes as feeding behaviors can differ among butterfly species.
Common larval host plants include mallow, nasturtium, snapdragon, wild senna, and aster. Try and grow flowers of different heights as that could appeal to a wider diversity of butterfly species.
2. Avoid Using Pesticide
Butterflies are extremely sensitive to chemical pesticide across all stages of their life cycle. Use natural solutions like beneficial insects and food-grade diatomaceous earth when garden pest problems arise. If you plan on attracting beneficial insects then make sure you aren’t attracting insect species that are considered common predators of butterflies.
3. Exposure to Sunlight
Most species of butterflies are active in sunny habitats. Build the butterfly garden in an area that gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day. Butterflies are cold-blooded insects and need the warmth for their body to function. Pick an area that’s also protected from the wind.
4. Build a Puddling Station
Butterflies gather on puddles to drink water and to extract important minerals. Studies suggest that the nutrients collected from a puddling station are used as a nuptial gift during mating. If you don’t have any natural puddles in your garden then consider making your own.
You can create a butterfly puddling pool by filling a shallow terracotta dish with wet sand. Refill the dish on a regular basis as the butterfly pool should be kept wet at all times.