There are several levels of butterfly gardening depending on whether
you want to just attract a few or provide a habitat inviting several
varieties to move in lock, stock, and chrysalis. You can start by
planting a few nectar plants or providing other lures to attract the
butterflies in your area. You may find that you're satisfied or that
you're so enchanted by your fluttering visitors that you want to do
Adult food sources
In the garden, these are most often plants that provide nectar
for adult butterflies. Most butterflies aren't very picky and
will feed from a variety of flowering plants, though they may
have a favorite or two. Other food sources include fermenting
fruit, manure, carrion, and mud.
Plants that provide a site for the butterfly to lay eggs and a
food source for the emerging caterpillar. Be prepared for heavy
munching on host plants.
Woody plants located near the nectar plants will provide
butterflies with shelter during bad weather and at night.
Butterflies can't drink from open water. They prefer very wet
sand or soil.
a successful butterfly garden
Determine which species live in your area and which ones you want to
attract. Several walks around your neighborhood will help you determine
which butterflies are in the area and what they're feeding on.
Select a site
Butterflies prefer to feed in sunny areas protected from the wind.
You'll probably want the garden where you can see it yet not right next
to heavily trafficked or play areas (nectar flowers may attract bees and
other stinging insects). It should also be in an area away from
Decide on the type of garden
Select plants suited to the selected butterfly species and that will fit
in with the type of garden you'd like to have whether it be formal or
natural or somewhere in between. You can even have a butterfly rock
Adult food plants
Find out more about the native nectar plants that will attract the
butterflies in your area.
Sugaring may be just the entree for your neighborhood butterflies or
perhaps a nectar feeder. You might also consider providing a "puddle" or
an area basking.
Find out more about the host plants that butterflies will lay eggs on
and that will feed the caterpillars. Host plants aren't just maternity
wards. Many butterflies are more likely to frequent nectar plants that
are near host plants and may feed on the host plants, too.