Dec 24, 2014

How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden

One of the most serene and beautiful sites is that of a butterfly peacefully fluttering through a garden. Everyone enjoys butterflies, from kids looking on in awe and wonder, to adults being lulled into happiness, to cats and dogs wanting to chase after them.  But how come some people seem to have more of these beautiful peaceful creatures in their yards while others, even neighbors just a couple of houses away may not ever see any?  We can't control creatures in nature, but we can do all we can to influence them to be drawn to our yards with the plants and flowers we put in them.
There are a number of things you can do to attract butterflies in all stages of development.  You should select plants that are indigenous to your local terrain, as butterflies have learned to live harmoniously with such plants.  You can check with your local garden center on which plants are considered indigenous and encourage butterflies to lay their eggs.  You will also want to select plants that make good food sources for the caterpillars, and also plants that attract adult butterflies to sun themselves.

Adult butterflies are most attracted to reds, oranges, purples, pinks and yellows.  They typically like flat topped or clustered flowers as they are easier to get to the nectar, which is one of the biggest draws for the butterflies in the first place.  Some flowers and plants you might consider adding to your garden include: butterfly bushes, milkweed, goldenrod, phlox, coneflowers, snap dragons, violets and many more. If at all possible, you should select flowering plants and bushes that flower throughout the entire season, as this will encourage and entice them to stay around.  It isn't that a single plant needs to flower the whole season, but you should have blooms around at all times.

You will want to place your butterfly attracting plants in sunny areas, or at least areas that have morning sun because the morning is when the adult butterflies typically eat and sun themselves.  If your landscaping isn't conducive to planting these flowers or bushes in the sunny locations, try putting large flat rocks for the butterflies to rest and sun bathe.  They need their wings to warm up so their flight is easier.

You can also encourage butterflies by giving them some shallow pools from which they can drink water.  The water stream should be still, and not too intimidating for the butterfly to approach. Even better, though, is if you can create a sandy area in which water pools or puddles.  Butterflies like to draw water out of this type of soil.  You can create this by adding coarse sand to a locale in your garden, perhaps on a cookie sheet or some other barrier to keep the coarse sand wet.

But if all you are doing doesn't seem to be attracting the beautiful butterflies to your garden, and you have checked with your garden center for additional ideas, try walking around those areas you seem them clustered, whether it is your neighbor’s yard, the school yard down the road or your city's parks and recreation areas.  Those locations and what they do may give you insight in to altering your garden to be more enticing.  As the gardeners in charge of those areas what they do and see if they are deliberately trying to lure the butterflies there.  Any insight would be welcome, especially if it aids in inviting these beautiful creatures to hang out in your garden.

Written by Clark Jones, owner of Tree Frog Complete Grounds Maintenance. Tree Frog is the best company for landscaping Columbia MO has to offer.

1 comment:

Bibika said...

such a great idea, i love it:))

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