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

How to Water Your Butterflies Garden

Herb Garden Morning Light May 22

Image by BeautifulRust via Flickr

By: JC Schwartz

Butterflies need water just like we do. Keep a mud puddle damp in a sunny location, or fill a bucket with sand and enough water to make the sand moist. Periodically saturate the sand to keep it moist. You can also bury the bucket in the ground for aesthetic purposes and provide access to it by surrounding it with some small rocks.

Male butterflies appreciate a patch of wet sand or dirt. They sip salts and other minerals from the sand, a behavior known as “puddling”. The minerals are passed on in a sperm packet during mating, to enrich the eggs.

In you want to include the use of butterflies in your landscape you will need to create a safety zone for your butterflies to feel safe. Butterflies frequent habitual zones, where they feel safe and where areas of the landscape meet with the tree lines.Creating your butterfly gardens near or around trees will help in attracting even more of these graceful creatures to your gardens. You should also consider hedges; groups of small trees or shrubs; or walls, fences, trellises covered with vines. (more…)

Tags: mud puddles, Butterflies, watering your butterfly garden, Butterfly Gardening, puddling