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8 Tips: How To Attract Butterflies

iStock_000002084523LargeBelow are some tips on how to make your yard butterfly-friendly.

Tip 1: Cater to caterpillars. By incorporating caterpillar foods into your garden you can increase your chances of attracting adult butterflies. For the most part, caterpillars are very picky eaters. Female butterflies lay eggs on host plants that their offspring will feed on. See the National Wildlife Federation’sAttract Butterflies” tips sheet (PDF) for a list of common butterflies and the plants their caterpillars eat. Below are just a few plants caterpillars like to snack on:

  • Parsley, Dill, Fennel, Clover, Snapdragon, Hollyhock Mallow, Rock Cress, Violets, Milkweed, Sunflowers, Asters, Cosmos, Zinnia, Eutrochium (Joe-Pye Weeds), Phlox and Marigold.

Tip 2: Stock-up on nectar-rich blooms. The most common varieties used to attract butterflies are Buddleia also known as “Butterfly Bush” or Milkweed. In attracting butterflies to your yard, it is important to understand that nectar is an essential form of food for butterflies. Nectar-rich blooms you can incorporate into your garden include:

  • Pentas, Ageratum, Nicotiana, Verbena, Alyssum, Heliotrope, Flannel Flower, etc.

Tip 3: Grow brightly coloured plants. Butterflies are particularly attracted to pink, orange, yellow, red and purple blooms.

Tip 4: Ensure continuous bloom. Butterflies need nectar throughout their adult stage. Ensure to coordinate your plants so that once certain varieties stop blooming, others begin.

Tip 5: Position your garden properly. In order to regulate their body temperature butterflies use sunlight. An inviting butterfly garden should also provide shady areas where butterflies can cool off while they eat. You can create a relaxation area for butterflies to bask in the sun by incorporating flat stones in your garden.

Tip 6: Save your fruit peels. Butterflies have tiny, sharp teeth which allows them to extract juices from fruit peels. For example, by simply placing a banana peel on a somewhat raised platform, such as a tree branch, butterflies will be attracted to its sweetness. Please note that fruit peels will also attract bees and wasps.

Tip 7: Create “puddling” area. Butterflies often gather on muddy or wet areas to partake in a thing called “puddling”. Puddling is when butterflies extract minerals from damp puddles as they hydrate themselves. You can do this by placing coarse sand in a shallow plate or pan and inserting it in the soil within your butterfly garden. It is important that the sand remain moist.

Tip 8: Avoid using poisonous pesticides. By doing so, you will avoid killing butterflies and caterpillars as well as beneficial insects (bees/ladybugs) and foods butterflies rely on.


Enjoy the scenery!

Estelle xo