Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and interesting creatures on Earth. A butterfly garden is an easy way to see more butterflies and to help them, since many natural butterfly habitats have been lost to human activities like building homes, roads and farms. It is easy to increase the number and variety of butterflies in your yard. Simply grow the plants the caterpillars like to eat, and plants that adult butterflies feed on! We can help – we have LOTS of informative articles to help you:
- Butterfly Nectar Plants (plants adult butterflies like)
- Butterfly Host Plants (plants caterpillars like)
- Butterfly Gardening by Area (what butterflies live in your area)
- Butterfly Garden Plans (the layout and design)
- 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)
Create a Butterfly Garden
Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and interesting creatures on Earth. By planting a butterfly garden with all of the right kinds of plants and flowers that butterflies love to feed on and lay eggs on, you will certainly have a yard full of butterflies throughout the growing season. Butterfly gardens can be any size – a window box, part of your landscaped yard, or even a wild untended area on your property.
Creating a butterfly garden should start with some serious research to learn which kinds of butterflies are native to your area. You can learn that from our article “Butterfly Gardening by Area”. Make a list of all of the different kinds of butterflies you would like to attract, and then learn which flowers and plants they both feed on and lay eggs on. All of the plants will certainly be native to your area and therefore easy to grow with the right conditions and care. Adult butterflies will visit for a longer period if they find plants to lay their eggs on. These are called ‘Host Plants’ and you can read about them in our article on “Butterfly Host Plants.”
Once you have done your research and know which kinds of plants you need, you should learn about the plants and flowers. What do they look like? How tall do they grow? What conditions do they thrive in? Perhaps print small pictures from the internet of each plant and flower so that you can begin to plan your butterfly garden by placing the pictures in the order in which you will want to plant them. In this way you can get a very good estimate of how much room you will need, and what your finished butterfly garden will look like.
Check with a local greenhouse about getting these plants and flowers. Find out which ones are annuals and which are perennials. You may want to plant the annuals in the front of the garden or away from garden fencing because they will need to be replaced each year. Perennials will come back year after year so these should be near the back of the butterfly garden and left alone to grow and thrive. If your local greenhouse cannot get you the plants you need, check in catalogs that sell bulbs or online and order them. Be sure to learn when and how to best plant them, especially if you must purchase bulbs and start the plants from scratch.
You can add some butterfly garden accessories like a Butterfly House, which has slots the ideal size for keeping birds out while giving butterflies protection from the wind and weather, and are beautiful garden decorations. You could offer an additional nectar source close by to supplement your flowers. By providing both the food and shelter butterflies need you can prolong the butterfly’s stay in your garden and draw in others.
Once you have designed and started your butterfly garden, you can be proud that you have made a habitat for butterflies in your own yard, which helps with the conservation of the many species of quickly disappearing butterflies today. You will certainly want to place your favorite outdoor furniture near so that you can enjoy all of your visitors day after day.
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Butterflies of North America by State:
It is important to know which adult butterflies are found in your area. This will help you determine the Butterfly Nectar Plants and Butterfly Host Plants you will want to plant when creating your butterfly garden.