Butterflies are a beautiful and useful addition a backyard garden. Fortunately, getting them to your yard is easy once you learn what butterflies like (and what they need) and add these elements to your garden. Use these five tips to fill your yard with butterflies.
1. Take advantage of the sun
Butterflies need sun to thrive. They will only eat in the sun, and they rely on the sun’s heat to warm their wings for flight. If you have a full-sun yard, you will attract many more butterflies than if you only have partial sun. If you can increase your sun exposure by pruning trees that shade the yard, do so.
2. Add water
Butterflies wade or puddle in shallow pools of water to soak up minerals in dirt, sand and even rocks. Make it easy for butterflies to access water by creating a butterfly puddle. Fill a shallow pan with dirt, sand, or rocks. Add water and leave this in the soil in your garden.
3. Plant native flowers
Landscaping with native flowers isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for the local butterfly population. Butterflies have evolved in tandem with native flowers, and can draw needed nutrients from these flowers. Plant a variety of wildflowers that bloom at different times to draw butterflies throughout the season. Butterflies most enjoy brightly colored blooms, so aim to have orange, red, purple and pink flowers in your garden. Group blooms in bunches so that butterflies can see them from midair.
4. Don’t forget about host plants
Host plants attract adult butterflies who need a safe place to lay their eggs. They also provide food for newly hatched caterpillars. Host plants include black-eyed susan, willow, milkweed, nasturtium, sassafras, snapdragon and the aspen, elm and black cherry trees.
5. Steer clear of pesticides
Pesticides and insecticides will kill butterflies, so it is vital that you do not use these in your yard. Even products that are marketed as natural can pose a threat to butterflies, so you’re best off steering clear of any pesticide or insecticide product. If you need to combat pests, try introducing ladybugs into your garden. They’ll eat the pests and provide character.
These five tips will help you make your yard inviting to a wide array of butterflies while providing adult butterflies and caterpillars with everything they need to thrive.