How to Create a Butterfly Garden
Butterflies play an important part on our eco-system by pollinating a great deal of our harvests as well as gauging our environment’s health. Here's how we can help maintain the butterfly’s population and better our environment by creating an eye catching butterfly garden.
- Our need for the butterfly
- What your garden should look like
- Types of flowers
- Types of host plants
- Arranging your garden
Our need for the butterfly
One of the attractions of summer is the butterfly; its vibrant colors, patterns and the delicate beauty is a sight for the weary eye. The butterfly can't help but capture ones attention as it flutters bye and settles on a flower, its wings sporadically beating the wind as if it were a gentle pulse. Sadly, our environment is taking its toll on these winged beauties with the loss of habitat from land development.
Our need for these creatures’ runs second to bees in maintaining a healthy planet; we can help our environment by creating our very own butterfly oasis.
What your garden should look like
Like people, butterflies find it easier to see clusters of the same plants as opposed to sparsely planted ones. They also have their preference of colors, favoring pinks, purples, white and yellow flowers. The fragrance of these blooms will also lure them.
Choose a sunny location to plant your garden; butterflies like to bask in the sun. Luckily, most of the flowers they prefer thrive in the sunlight as well. Adding bricks or rocks will not only give your garden a special charm, it will benefit the butterfly as a place for them to rest and soak up the sun.
Types of flowers
Fortunately there’s a wide variety of flowers to choose from. Species of flowers include; black-eyed susans, butterfly weed, aster, lavender, goldenrod, daylilies, marigold, hibiscus, lilac, purple coneflower, rosemary, butterfly bush, redbud, oxeye daisies, verbena, phlox.
If you want to keep the females hanging around. A guaranteed attraction for the female butterfly is to plant larval foodplants. Mind you, once the caterpillar emerges from its egg, there will be a lot of feeding on your host plants!
Types of host plants
Butterflies are picky in choosing their larval foodplants. Monarchs need milkweeds for their larvae; once the eggs hatch, the Monarch caterpillar will feed only on milkweeds.
Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly has a broader appetite; its caterpillars feed on willow, big leaf maple, cottonwood, ash and aspen trees.
The Painted Lady caterpillar prefers hollyhocks, thistles and sunflowers.
The Red Admiral caterpillar is inclined to plants of the nettle family such as stinging nettle, false nettle and wood nettle. The picky plants are best planted in the back of the garden to avoid people from getting stung by them.
Arranging your garden
This is the fun part; decide which butterflies you would like to see more of and the types of plants that best suits you and your butterflies. You can make a template of your garden to visualize how it will look before you plant it. Landscape design templates are easy to come by and you can find dozens of them on the Internet.
Will you have tall flowers in the back or the center of your flowerbed? Will your garden be oval or round? Will you have one big garden or several smaller ones? Designs are limitless. This is where your creativity will shine; remember not just you will enjoy the garden but the butterflies that come to visit it.
So enjoy the season and watch the dance of the butterfly as they take delight in your butterfly garden.