Did you know that there are over 17,000 species of butterflies in the world? A butterfly can add tons of beauty to this ugly world. Many people keep a hobby of maintaining a butterfly garden or butterfly spa. You really need not do anything special in order to attract butterflies to your garden. If your garden has plants and flowers which butterflies love; they will come to visit. That said; there are some easy ways to attract these lovely creatures. Let us find out how….
1. Avoid use of pesticides and chemicals
Aerial spraying, wasp predation, and excess use of chemical insect control and pesticides have all crippled the population of native butterflies. So avoid use of chemicals in your garden to deter aphids, ants, bees etc. Use organic, eco-friendly products that won’t harm these creatures. Let nature work its magic!
2. Use the sun
Butterflies love sunshine and use it for navigation and increasing their body energy. So if you wish to create a small butterfly spa in a section of your garden you simply need to identify a spot that gets a lot of sunshine (at least 6 hours per day). Plant herbs, flowers and plants that are natural larval food for butterflies and soon you will have them visiting in no time. In addition to butterflies, you might also get visits from bumblebees, hummingbirds and other natural pollinators.
3. Protect your butterfly garden from strong winds
Butterflies do not like strong winds. So if you want to attract butterflies to your garden, you need to protect it from strong winds. Make use of trellises or short brick walls to prevent strong winds. Creating a protected area for butterflies will encourage them to lay eggs and help butterfly population grow in no time. If you live in a particularly windy area, choose a spot in the south or southwest corner of a ledge or building or garden.
4. Keep things easy to maintain
Many butterfly enthusiasts start off with a lot of energy only to lose interest and forget about heir butterfly garden. So make sure you keep the butterfly spot easy to maintain. It can be in one of the following areas:
- Close to a frequently used window
- Next to a seating area or on the patio
- Near a frequently used entrance
- In your vegetable garden
5. Choose the best plants to attract butterflies
Butterflies love brightly colored flowers in red, yellow, orange, purple, pink and other vibrant hues. Scented or fragrant flowers also work best. Go for asters which provide a landing pad to the butterflies to sip nectar from. Mints and marigolds have short sipping tubes so butterflies can easily sip from them. It is also always a good idea to plant native local flowers which provide a symbiotic association for native butterfly species.
6. Group flowers together
Butterflies are not able to see too well. So it helps if you can plant flowering plants so that they create clusters or groups of brightly colored flowers. This can easily help you attract tons of butterflies.
7. Create a watering hole in summer
Butterflies need water, especially in the hot, dry weather- so do add a water bird feeder or a mud puddle or wet sandy area where butterflies can congregate.
8. Use rotting fruit
To attract butterflies with fruit, make a concoction of mashed ripe bananas, molasses, mangoes, sugar, stale beer or fruit juices all mixed with water. You can add this mixture on some rocks in your butterfly garden. Butterflies love this recipe.
9. Overlap blooming seasons
Make sure you add plenty of flowers that bloom at different times of the years with slight overlap between them. Do your homework when choosing plants. Do ensure that you plant both larval food plants and nectar plants to cater to different life cycle stages of butterflies. This is essential to provide food and incentive for breeding for butterflies. Speak to a landscaping expert or a gardener in case you have questions. It pays to know how tall the plants will grow and how much sun they need. Many plants need tons of room to spread-so plant accordingly.
10. Protect them from predators
Butterflies have many predators including wasps. So keep them safe by removing wasp nests and/or building protective boxes for housing them. You can also cover the larval food plants to protect caterpillars from predators.
Use the above easy steps to create a butterfly garden and attract butterflies to your neighborhood.