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10 Tips for Making Your Garden a Butterfly Magnet

Here are 10 tips for making your butterfly garden attractive to butterflies and keeping them coming back:

1. Plant native plants that grow well in your area. The biggest secret to a lush garden is to select plants that are native to your area.

2. Choose plants that nurture the caterpillars of the butterflies you want to attract. For example, Monarch butterfly caterpillars eat only milkweed, which is growing scarcer every day as wild habitat is lost and herbicides are used more and ore. If you have plenty of milkweed in your garden, Monarch butterflies will come to your garden to lay eggs—and keep coming back.

3. Provide water for puddling. Many butterfly species like to drink water from shallow, clean water puddles. Providing safe, clean water puddles will attract them and keep them in your garden longer. Use carefully placed lawn sprinklers to provide water for puddling.

4.  Keep butterfly bushes and other plants lush even in a drought with a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation is the most economical way to water plants, and even if you plant mostly native plants, in a severe draught watering may be essential to keep plants alive and flourishing to attract and feed the butterflies. to create tiny pools for puddling.

5. Provide shelter from high winds and hard rains. Butterfly wings are fragile. High winds and hard rains can take a horrible toll on your butterfly population. Provide lots of trees and bushes for them to take shelter in, and consider adding butterfly houses to you garden. They can be decorative, just like bird houses, and many butterflies will use them for shelter.

6. Let the sun shine in. Butterflies and most flower species thrive in sunshine. Make sure there are plenty of sunny areas as well as shady ones in your garden.

7. Create open spaces to allow butterflies to feed without being easily accessible to predators. Just as bird feeders should be placed where birds can eat without being threatened by cats, butterflies need a certain amount of open space to escape their natural enemies.

8. Refrain from spraying pesticides or using herbicides. They kill butterflies and caterpillars and the plants they feed on.

9. Buy chrysalises and place them on appropriate plants in your garden. That not only provides a crop of butterflies to get you stated. It also gives you the pleasure of watching them break free and seeing their wings unfold. And for some species it assures that there will be more of that species in your garden again next year.

10. Keep bushes neatly trimmed to keep neighbors from complaining and homeowners associations from interfering with your choice of native plants.

Tags: native plants, butterfly garden, puddling, lawn sprinklers, drip irrigation

Attract More Butterflies and Humans to Your Yard or Garden

Droughts and even short dry spells in some climates can be hard on butterflies and other small wildlife that like to drink from shallow puddles. They cannot safely drink from rapidly moving water, even small streams, because they are so small that they can easily get caught and be washed away.

That gives butterfly lovers another way to attract more butterflies to yards and gardens by providing them with the water they need. Watering your plants with lawn sprinklers leaves water drops on leaves and can make tiny puddles for butterflies.

Another problem for butterflies during droughts is that the flowers and plants they depend on may cease flowering and/or not grow much. That means a shortage of nectar for adult butterflies and leaves for caterpillars. It can also mean less protection for them from harsh weather and from predators.

Yet watering your yard can be prohibited or severely limited during droughts, and the cost of frequent can become expensive in some locales. One answer is to install a drip irrigation system, which delivers just enough water to keep plants flourishing, without a lot of water wasted by evaporation. That saves money for the homeowner and also conserves water for everyone else.

You can have professionals design and install a drip irrigation and a lawn sprinkler system. Or you can use movable sprinklers.

You can even install a drip irrigation system yourself by ordering the irrigation supplies and instructions on line. 

The butterflies will love you for it. And with more flowers and more butterflies, you and your human guests will enjoy visiting your yard or garden more, too.

Tags: irrigation system, lot of water, make tiny puddles, lawn sprinkler system, lawn sprinkler