Having your own butterfly garden not only looks stunning, but it can also help boost the butterfly population. Due to increased human activity and urbanisation, butterflies are losing their natural habitat. However, if you create a butterfly garden, you can help provide them with food, a place to lay eggs and seek shelter.
The great news is, that it is relatively simple to create a butterfly garden and can work in any size garden. Here is how to create a butterfly garden.
Step 1: Do your research
Before you start planting, you need to do a bit of research. Find out which butterflies are the most common in your area. Each species of butterfly likes slightly different food. By knowing which species are likely to visit your garden will help you know which flowers you should be planting to maximise the impact. Conduct this research online or by simply observing which butterflies you see in the areas surrounding your home.
Step 2: Plan your garden
Once you know which butterflies you are trying to attract, it is time to plan the garden. Planting flowers in a group allows butterflies to find flowers and plants easier.
Do not just plant flower beds at equal height. Try and vary it by planting larger, taller plants at the back and smaller flowers at the front as butterflies like the variety. Try and have your butterfly garden in an area that you can view from a patio or from your house as it allows you to enjoy it more. Where possible, also plant flowers that range in their blooming times. Having flowers bloom at different times will provide the butterflies with food for more months of the year
Step 3: Find a sunny spot
Choose a space in your garden that gets sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. Butterflies are naturally cold-blooded animals, meaning they depend on the sun to provide them with heat. Butterflies tend to only feed in the sun and need warmth in order to be able to fly. Butterflies will lie on a flat service such as a leaf or stone to soak up the sun. Having some flat stones placed in your butterfly garden can help aid them.
Step 4: Provide shelter
It is also important to provide sufficient shelter so that butterflies can hide there during strong winds. A simple way to provide shelter is by having a pile of logs in the corner of your garden. Butterflies will use this natural shelter to stay at night or even hibernate over Winter.
Step 5: Plant a variety of flowers
Choose flowers that produce a lot of pollen and nectar. Butterflies use sense receptors in their antennae and legs to find suitable plants. Colour is another important factor that butterflies consider when feeding. So, try and plant a mixture of plants in a range of colours to provide butterflies with a variety of food. Different butterflies prefer different nectar plants, which is why it's vital to do your research first and then plant a variety, so they have plenty of choices. Here are just some of the species that are great for attracting pollinators like butterflies
Planting bright colours for food is important however where possible, incorporate some vegetable plants and herbs into your butterfly garden as well. Plants such as dill, parsley, carrots sage and chives are the perfect plants for butterflies to lay their eggs. Try and plant them close to the flowers as butterflies like to lay their eggs somewhere close to a food source for when the eggs hatch.
Step 6: Provide water
Butterflies need access to water not just to drink but also as a way to obtain necessary minerals. Create some puddles for the butterflies to access but ensure they are shallow. Dig a small hole and place a piece of plastic at the bottom. Once wet, the plastic will help create a puddling area. Tree sap, nectar and dew are also adequate water sources.
Step 7: Don’t just think flower beds
You do not need a large garden or a big space to start a butterfly garden. You can use containers, hanging baskets and window boxes to create the same effect.
Step 8: Avoid pesticides
At the end of the say, butterflies are still insects and therefore will be killed by pesticides so limit the use wherever possible. Try using more natural methods to get rid of pests in order to ensure that the butterflies remain safe. Only use pesticides when you must rather than merely use them for preventative reasons.
Creating a natural butterfly habitat in your garden is one of the best ways to save butterflies and as you can see, it only takes a few steps to achieve it. Not only will the butterfly garden act as a safe haven for butterflies, but they are also beautiful and peaceful places that both the butterflies and you can enjoy. If you arrange your garden to have the right types of plants, in a variety of colours and heights, it will become irresistible to butterflies.
Once you have followed the steps stated above on how to create a butterfly garden, you will be able to sit back, relax and enjoy your hard work.
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