Attracting butterflies


imagesCAD5YMOPAlmost every online garden center offers pre-planned butterfly gardens. It isn’t difficult to plan your own. Choose your flowers knowing that the plants need to provide nectar for adults, leaves for babies (caterpillars) and favored sites to lay eggs.  Choose a sunny site sheltered from heavy winds. There are too many flower options to list but a few that I really like include daisies, foxglove, parsley, bee balm and phlox. For monarchs milkweed is a must. 

Here are few other ideas for attracting butterflies from one of my favorite tips and tricks guides.

Salt, minerals and moisture are necessities for butterflies. In a sunny area out of the wind, set out a shallow saucers or stepping stones containing moist soil and a sprinkling of salt.

Again using a flat surface, create a food source with a drop a bit of jelly, jam or honey, or even a spoonful of damp sugar. You can set out aged fruit too. It won’t take long before butterflies arrive to sip your sweet treat.

If your bird bath and little pond are too active with birds, the butterflies may be looking for water in less travelled sections of your garden. Consider garden art or decorations that hold small amounts of water. Butterflies will love it.

I’ve never seen anyone build butterfly houses. However, providing leaf filled nooks in your retaining wall or in fences will attract butterflies looking for a place to rest out of the wind.

As a closing caution, I must mention pets. As you know, Nigel and Harvey feel they are helping me garden when they eat flowers mimicking my deadheading and pull up newly planted seedlings mimicking weeding. They are actually super helpful at deterring mice, chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits by chasing them and “marking” the area around rodent nests. However, jam, honey, salty dirt, and rotting fruit look just as tasty to cocker spaniels as butterflies. As you place your butterfly treats remember they can fly and dogs can’t.

About Kary Beck

Mother and wife, gardener, wine enthusiast, avid online bargain hunter, and owner of two black-and-tan cocker spaniels.
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