Butterflies and Your Gardens
Posted September 23, 2010on:
Butterflies not only add beauty to your garden but also serve many other purposes in local ecosystem. Adult butterflies help in pollination, while both adults and caterpillars are the main food sources for birds and other animals.
Butterflies, like all wildlife, want to live in the place where there is enough food, water, and shelter. However, they need two types of food, one for the caterpillars (larval stage) and the other for the adult butterflies.
To attract butterflies, your garden will need the following:
- Nectar plants for butterflies. Plants that provide food for butterflies are called nectar plants. If you want to attract butterflies to your garden then grow plants that bear nectar-producing flowers because nectar is the major source of butterfly’s food.
When selecting nectar plants for your garden, it is important to select different kinds of flowering plants with blooming time spaced out across summer, spring, and early autumn.
Some of the well-known nectar plants include:
Asters, Milkweeds, Azalea, black-eyed Susan, Phlox, Coneflowers, Oregano, Clover, Sunflowers, Mint, Marigolds, Zinnias, Bush Cinquefolia, Butterfly bush, Privet, Lilac, and Redbud Sweet pea, Lilac, Cosmos, Thistles, and various fruit trees.
- Host plants for caterpillars. Plants that provide food for caterpillars are called host plants. Growing hose plants in your garden provides butterflies a place to lay their eggs. Therefore, if you want to attract unusual and uncommon butterflies in your garden then grow plants that caterpillars love to eat.
Some of the most common host plants include:
Milkweeds, Hollyhocks, Fennel, Parsley, Dill, Wild Senna, Passion Vine, Pipe Vine, Carrot, Wild Lilacs, Buckthorns, Hop-tree, Passion Vine, Wild Plums and Cherries, Sage, Citrus, Ashes, Poplar, and Wild Lime.
- Enough sunlight. Butterflies love sunlight. You need to ensure that all the butterfly-attracting plants receive direct sunlight for much of the day, so that butterflies do not leave your garden in search of plants that are exposed to direct sunlight.
- Shallow watering container. Butterflies need water frequently especially in hot days. There are number of choices to provide water to the butterflies. Some of them are as follows:
1.Fill a terracotta pot or small plastic container with pebbles and add water in it.
2.Add marbles in an old Frisbee and fill it with water.
3.Place an old cup into the ground near the plants and keep it filled with water.
4.Use an old pizza or jelly roll pan to provide water to butterflies.
5.Fill a shallow ceramic bowl, an old baking dish, or a large plate with sand and sink it into the ground. Ensure that the sand in it always stays moist.
- Shelter from bad weather conditions. Butterflies need shelter during heavy rainstorms, strong winds, and other bad weathers. They usually look for shelter in trees, shrubs, and other densely planted places. You need to provide both sunny open areas and dense shadier ones for the butterflies to encourage them to stay in your garden.
- Insecticides free environment. If you want to attract butterflies, never use insecticides and pesticides in your garden. These chemicals not only harm the insects, but also keep the butterflies at bay.
By following the above mentioned points, you will be able to turn your ordinary garden into a butterfly garden where you can not only enjoy the beautiful flowers but also the colorful butterflies.