As you plan your butterfly garden location and design, keep in mind these things that butterflies like:
- Sunny Location.
Butterflies like sunshine and most butterfly plants prefer full to part sun.
- Shelter From Wind.
Plant trees and shrubs to provide shelter from wind and rain.
Use the protected areas behind fences or other structures.
- Nectar Flowers.
Many of our most beautiful flowers provide NO nectar for butterflies.
Select nectar rich flowers by using lists from resource books or websites,
nursery pot labels indicating that the plant attracts butterflies,
or observing which flowers are visited by butterflies or bees.
Masses of flowers are more attractive than widely spaced plants.
- Season Long Bloom.
Select plants that will provide a succession of bloom from early spring to
late fall to ensure that butterflies can always find nectar in your garden.
- Caterpillar Host Plants.
Butterflies have co-evolved along with the flowering plants.
Most are very selective when laying their eggs and will use only one or a few related plants.
The caterpillars will starve rather than eat other foliage.
Add host plants for the butterfly species that naturally occur in your area to increase the butterflies in your garden.
- Basking Locations.
Butterflies regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun.
Flat rocks, stumps or other light colored surfaces provide good basking locations.
- Puddling Sites.
Butterflies need moist locations to sip water and dissolved minerals.
A birdbath filled with damp sand or an area kept muddy with a drip system can meet this need.
- Undisturbed Wintering Areas.
Many butterflies over winter as caterpillars or chrysalises,
so the more area that you can leave undisturbed in the fall, the better.
They also will use protected areas such as a woodpile or stone wall to form their chrysalis.
- Fermenting Fruit.
Many species are attracted to fruit, especially as it ferments.
A bowl filled with fruit scraps may attract new species to your garden.