Gardening for Butterflies

Butterflies are beautiful, magical creatures. It's so soothing to watch them flit about amongst flowers and plants in your garden. Some species of butterflies, including the Monarch, are declining in number due to habitat loss. By designing your garden to be more attractive to butterflies, you're helping to support these struggling species while also giving yourself a chance to enjoy their beauty. Follow these tips to make your garden more attractive to these flitting, fleeting insects.

Plant flowers that appeal to butterflies

Butterflies feed on the nectar of flowers, and they find some flowers more appealing than others. Some flowers to add to your garden include:
 
Asters: A perennial with colorful, star-shaped flowers that resemble daisies
Bee Balm: A wildflower-like plant with big, bold, magenta blooms
Goldenrod: A perennial with a multitude of tiny, yellow flowers
Lilac: A bush that develops fragrant, purple flowers
Shasta daisy: Large, white flowers with bright yellow centers
 

Plant flowers in full sunlight

Have you noticed that you tend to see more butterflies on bright, sunny days? This is because they prefer to feed in the sun. Focus on planting your flowers in the brightest, sunniest parts of your garden, and you'll likely notice more butterflies.

Go all-natural

Butterflies are insects, so pesticides will not just keep them away - they'll kill them. Avoid spraying your garden with pesticides, and instead use natural methods to keep unwanted insects away. Try using Neem oil to repel mosquitoes and planting mint to keep flies away. (Butterflies enjoy mint, but flies do not.)

Create a few puddles

Butterflies love to rest on the edges of puddles where they can drink a little water and cool their feet. Place a few shallow glass pans throughout the sunniest spots in your garden, and keep them filled with water. Bury the shallow pan's edges in the dirt so that the butterflies can rest along the edge comfortably.
 
If you focus on planting the right flowers in sunny spaces, avoiding pesticide use, and providing a water source, your garden will become a haven for beautiful, fluttering butterflies of various species.