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Best Kept Secrets Shared to Create a Thriving Butterfly Garden!

Elvis Elvis

“Man, do you have the Butterfly Garden” or “How do you get so many butterflies to come to your garden?” These are comments and questions that I’m often asked and my answer always seems to be, “Well, I give them what they want – The Ultimate Butterfly Garden.” And, boy, is it ever. I’ll share information and tips that I have discovered that really attract butterflies to your garden. Let’s get started by reviewing quickly what butterflies require in their habitat.

  • Plants
  • Foood
  • Water
  • Shelter

Ok, now on to the good stuff… Gardener’s Secrets Revealed

Plants

When it comes to plants found in my Butterfly Garden, you’ll notice a variety of plants. “Plant Diveristy” is what I like to call it. Since the butterfly life cycle consist of four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupae (chrysalis), and the adult – ah, The Beautiful Butterfly, it only makes sense that their habitat requires a bit more than other wildlife. Your Butterfly Garden needs to provide plants that cater to each stage of the butterfly’s life cycle, so plant diversity is a must.

Best Kept Secrets Shared to Create a Thriving Butterfly Garden!

  • Plants that offer a place for butterflies to mate and lay eggs.
  • Plants that provide food, and lots of it, for the caterpillars.
    • Just like my kids with their heads stuck in the refrigerator all day eating me out of house and home, caterpillars have hardy appetites. Make sure you plant plenty of “Host Plants.” It’s very sad but these plants are becoming harder and harder to find in the wild due to the high use of herbicides. So, get out there and plant, plant, plant!
  • Plants that provide a safe place for their pupae to grow and mature into a butterfly.

Knowing what plants make a good host plants and what plants are needed for food, depends on what butterflies you are trying to attract. I’ll share with you a list of what plants are host plants for the most common backyard butterfly.

More coming on the diminishing of host plants and the reasons to practice Organic Gardening.

Here is another “bang for you buck” Tip. Buy and grow plants that double as host plants for butterflies and that are rich in nectar.
Location, Location, Location
Make sure your main Butterfly Garden is located in a sunny location where your plants will receive a good 6 hours of sun light every day and the garden spot is sheltered from wind. This will allow the butterflies to flutter around from plant to plant enjoying the nectar without much effort and damage to their wings.

It’s best if you grow your host plants tucked away somewhere out of site from the human eye. Remember the purpose of a host plant is to provide a safe place to lay eggs (out of predators way) and for FOOD. Those caterpillars will devour leaves on a plant quicker than quick, leaving nothing but a twig standing with a few remains of a leaf. A bit on the ugly side but if tucked away no one will notice. Just draw the attention away from those plants and “WOW” your human visitors with your BIG Splash of Color from your flowering nectar plants. Absolutely Gorgeous!

Another Great TIP or Two – Get the Blues and Think BIG!

  • Of all the colors of a rainbow, butterflies will hone-in on the color of purple and blues, more so than any other color. Why not add a purple/blue gazing ball to your garden. Once the nectar is discovered, they’ll flutter from color blossom to color blossom all day long, as long as the nectar is there.
  • Arrange your plants in BIG clusters of 3 or more plants to create a BIG Massive Splash of Color. No butterfly can resist and you’ll have incoming from miles away, like a beacon light shining the way to your Butterfly Garden.

I see your neighbors peeking over the fence again!!

Winter Mistery?
Ever wonder where butterflies go in the winter? Do they migrate? How do they survive the cold? Well, just like me, they hibernate during the winter. Ok, I don’t really completely hibernate, I do venture out in the cold to tend to my bird feeders and birdbaths. Burr!!

Not all butterflies hibernate thou. One of the greatest mistery and watched butterfly migration is that of the Monarchs. Very interesting reading, I’ll make sure I add more articles on that subject.

Ok, so if they don’t migrate, where do they go? Have you ever seen those adorable “Butterfly Houses”? Or, another name is a “Hibernation Box or House”. Well for those little guys that stick around and don’t migrate, “Butterfly Houses” are designed to provide shelter much like the natural shelter butterflies find in cracks and crevices. I’m not sold on the fact that butterflies really use them, but I must admit, they sure do add charm to my Butterfly Garden. Yep, I bought a few. I’m so weak when it comes to adorable garden art.

Since I’m not completely convinced that they use my butterfly houses, I do include material in my garden that provides them a good place to hide and hibernate for the winter.