If you have a place in your yard and would like to assist in the conservation efforts for the most beautiful creatures in the world, then you will certainly want to create a butterfly garden. Many species of butterflies are disappearing due to their loss of natural habitat because of expanding urbanization and business development. Creating a natural habitat in a place where no bulldozer dares roam, like in your yard, is one of the best ways to save the butterflies, as well as creating a beautiful and peaceful place for you to enjoy the butterflies as they come to visit you. You will need to research your desired butterfly guests and find out what kinds of plants they like. Once you do that you can begin to design your butterfly garden plan.
There are two types of plants that you will want to consider in your butterfly garden plan. Nectar plants, which are the plants that butterflies like to feed on, and host plants, which are plants that butterflies lay their eggs on and their caterpillars like to eat. You may also wish to add some adornments to your butterfly garden that will also help to attract butterflies, like a butterfly house or two and some butterfly feeders.
Different butterflies prefer different nectar plants, and some like more than one. Providing several different types of nectar plants in your butterfly garden that have varying blooming stages is the ideal way to attract butterflies throughout the season. Be sure to have several types that bloom in the late summer and early fall because this is when butterflies are the most populous. For the best looking butterfly garden plan, make sure to put the taller plants and flowers, such as roses behind the shorter ones. Most people like to start with a large butterfly bush in the corner and work around it with smaller plants and flowers.
Adult butterflies will visit for a longer period if they find plants to lay their eggs on, which you can read about in our host plants article. The young caterpillars feed on the host plants until they form their cocoons. Baby caterpillars eat quite a lot and will make your plants look as if they are being destroyed, but don’t worry about that, this is necessary for their survival. If you don’t want to look at the eaten plants, simply plant them in the center or the back of your butterfly garden.
There are a couple of things to watch out for when you design your butterfly garden. Don’t plant your host plants too far away from your nectar plants. It is best to mix them or place them right next to each other. The butterflies will want to lay their eggs closer to the plants that their young will feed on. Also, never use insecticides on your butterfly garden. Remember that butterflies are an insect species and these chemicals will kill them. If you follow these few tips, and find the right plants for your butterfly garden, you will help to save the butterflies and have a wonderful place in your yard to enjoy all season long.
- Butterfly Garden (the basics to get started)
- Butterfly Nectar Plants (plants adult butterflies like)
- Butterfly Host Plants (plants caterpillars like)
- Butterfly Gardening by Area (what butterflies live in your area)
- Butterfly Behavior To Watch in the Garden (feeding, basking, etc)
- Sprucing Up Your Butterfly Garden (spruce up your existing garden)
- Raise Butterflies & Build Them a Home (add butterflies to your garden)
Having discovered a fondness for insects while pursuing her degree in Biology, Randi Jones was quite bugged to know that people usually dismissed these little creatures as “creepy-crawlies”.