Having a butterfly garden in your garden is a great way to inject some colour without having to spend lots of time or money. Once you’ve created the garden, the colourful butterflies will come themselves. They’re also fantastic as they create an ever-changing focal point in your garden that is difficult to achieve in any other way. However, knowing where to start with building one could be a little tricky, so this guide could help
Step 1- Do your research
Before you get started, it might be worth reading around to find out what type of butterflies are most common in your area. This will mean you are better informed as to what plants to choose, as different species of butterfly will be more attracted to different plants.
Step 2- Select your host plants
These will be the plants that larvae, caterpillars, feed on before they become butterflies. Ensuring that they have the best nutrients available to them means that the butterflies in your garden will be much prettier. Again, different species will prefer to feed on and flourish better off certain plants. Milkweed will attract the Monarch caterpillar, for example, whilst Black Swallowtail caterpillars are more attracted to Parsley.
Step 3- Choose your nectar plants
These will be the food source for the butterflies. There’s a wide range of different nectar plants that will benefit different butterfly species in different ways:
- Swamp Milkweed. This is suitable for the Snowberry Clearwing, but can also act as a host plant for the Monarch caterpillars. It will grow to around 3 feet tall and 18 inches wide.
- Zinnia. This is a great choice because it’s suitable for a wide range of butterflies. It is easy to grow from the seed and will measure at 4 feet high and 1 foot wide at its largest.
- Heliotrope. This is another plant that is suitable for many species of butterfly and it is even possible to grow in a pot as they generally measure 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide.
Step 4- Plan your garden
You risk wasting time, money and effort if you begin planting your butterfly garden without having planned exactly where certain things will go. Obviously you can deviate from this plan if you see that something will work better, but having an initial one will set you along the right path.
Step 5- Get planting
Get everyone involved with this step, it will be fun to see your plan come together. You mustn't forget to tend to plants, keeping them well fertilised and watered!
Step 6- Enjoy the garden
After all of your hard work you can finally enjoy the results! A warm afternoon in the garden is the perfect time to watch the butterflies enjoying the garden that you made for them.
Do you have any more tips or advice on how to create a butterfly garden? Share your ideas in the comments section below!
[Photo Credit: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton]