For many home gardeners the idea of a beautiful, flowered garden filled with butterflies is a dream. There is nothing quite as peaceful as watching these creatures float through the air. However, a beautiful view is not the only reason to make butterfly gardens in your yard. Butterflies are dying and they need our help to continue thriving for future generations to enjoy.
How to Make Butterfly Gardens
To make a successful butterfly garden you need to consider several factors. Butterflies and their caterpillars can be picky eaters. So, choosing the right plants to have in your garden is essential to attract the most butterflies.
Butterflies are typically less picky about what they will eat than caterpillars and are drawn to brightly colored flowers that are planted in large patches.
- Tropical Sage
Tropical sage is a native plant to Florida that produces beautiful red blooms beginning in spring and continuing through fall. These flowers attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees to your garden. They spread quickly making them great if you’re looking to attract a lot of butterflies. However, you may have to trim these plants back periodically to keep them under control.
Firebush is a native shrub with thin orange flowers that attract both birds and butterflies. One of the great things about Firebush is that it is a hardy plant and can survive in most climates once established. It also has few disease or pest problems for gardeners to deal with.
Goldenrods produce plumes of beautiful yellow flowers, but some gardeners consider it a weed. However, these plants are great at attracting butterflies and bees and encourage them to stay in the area. They are also known to attract beneficial bugs to keep unwanted pests under control.
Caterpillars can be pickier when it comes to what they’ll eat. Each species has its favorite plants but there are a few host plants that are a surefire way to keep butterflies around your home.
Milkweed is a common host plant for butterflies, and it is the only host plant for the beautiful Monarch. These produce large clusters of fragrant flowers and attract butterflies, bees, and beneficial insects to your garden.
- Maypop Passion Vine
The Maypop Passion Vine grows intricate purple flowers that are sure to delight any home gardener. They are also the perfect host plant for caterpillars while providing nectar for adult butterflies. Additionally, these vines are notoriously easy to grow meaning less work for you and more time to enjoy your butterfly gardens.
To create the ultimate butterfly gardens and sanctuary, you need to provide more than just food for the butterflies and caterpillars. Just like people butterflies look for a cozy environment to call home.
If you want butterflies to spend time in your garden it’s important to shelter it from the wind. If used in combination with some of the shrub options for nectar or host plants, you can create the perfect environment for butterflies.
However, when creating shelter from the wind, it’s important that you don’t block out the sun. Butterflies are cold blooded creatures and need the warmth provided by the sun to stay comfortable. It’s best if you can provide at least six hours of direct sunlight in your garden to attract the most butterflies.
Avoid Pesticides in Butterfly Gardens
In butterfly gardens it’s important to avoid using pesticides. These chemicals can kill butterflies, caterpillars, beneficial bugs, and even the plants needed for butterflies to survive. Planting native species that attract beneficial insects or turning to natural alternatives to control unwanted pests is the best way to keep your garden healthy while allowing butterfly populations to thrive.
Helping create a healthy habitat for butterflies is not only responsible but it’s personally rewarding. When planned properly these gardens can be relatively self-sustaining and balance beneficial insects, draw butterflies, promote native species, and create a beautiful landscape for your home.