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How to Create a Butterfly Garden

A 6-step DIY Guide on How to Create a Lively Butterfly Garden

Flowers that attract butterflies are numerous, and you should have good skills for selecting the best ones for your yard. But, there is more to learn about creating a butterfly garden other than selecting flowers.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2018
Swallowtail and daylilies
Butterflies are undoubtedly one of the most intriguing insects known to us. Each time these graceful flies flutter their wings, we get to enjoy an array of eye-catching, vibrant colors.
Butterfly on flower
If you share the same passion of watching butterflies around, nothing could be more satisfying than creating a butterfly garden in the home vicinity. The key trick is to incorporate flowers and plants that the butterflies are attracted to.
Guide to Create a Butterfly Garden
Butterflies in a butterfly garden
In case, you know nothing about starting a flower garden, relying on a butterfly garden kit is a good approach. You can follow the instructions mentioned in the kit.
Monarda
The purpose of maintaining a butterfly garden is to attract lovely butterflies in your yard, which can be achieved by providing shelter and food.
Hibiscus Flower
Several species of flower and non-flowering plants provide both the requirements. The following points highlight some do-it-yourself steps concerning how to make a butterfly garden.
Step #1: Know the Objectives
Butterfly pollinating on lantana flowers
Butterflies feed on the sweet nectar of flowers, so including them in your garden is a prerequisite.
Mocker Swallowtail
Though several flowers produce nectar to attract pollinating agents, these graceful insects prefer feeding on specific groups of plants. Female butterflies lay eggs in specific host plants, which the newly hatched caterpillars can feed on as they grow. Hence, you should plant these host plants too in your garden.
Step #2: Plan Garden Layout
Landscaping Design
The second step is deciding the actual garden layout. For this, select the garden site and finalize the area size.
As butterflies are cold blooded and require basking in the sun, you should preferably start a butterfly garden in sunlit areas. Based on how large the area is, you can make flower beds, keep room for ground covers, maintain trellis to separate garden sections and plant hedges.
Step #3: Select Garden Plants
Woman buying plants at a greenhouse
The third step involves choosing plant cultivars. This is a crucial task, and the functionality of your garden largely depends on what types of plants you choose.
Pollination
You will find a long list of butterfly garden flowers, which are native to your region. If interested, make a brief research about the commonly found butterflies and their preferred plants. Examples of flowers that attract butterflies include asclepias, azaleas, buddleias, daylilies, coneflower, lilacs, butterfly bush, milkweed, etc.
Step #4: Grow Chosen Plants
Butterfly Feeding On Lantana Flower
After careful selection of butterfly garden plants, check for their availability in your local nursery center. You can purchase viable seeds, healthy saplings and starter plants for introducing in your garden.
Butterfly on flower
Follow the gardening basics suggested for each variety to grow healthy plants. It is best to grow varieties of plants, which differ in their blooming period. The logic is to maintain colorful flowers throughout the year, so that you can enjoy watching butterflies all the year round.
Step #5: Make Some Puddles
Paved Stones Walkway
Making puddles is optional, and you can skip this step according to your convenience. In natural habitats, male butterflies are often found gathering in small puddles.
You can create the same natural effect by placing a few plastic buckets at the edges of your garden. Fill them with sand and gravel, and pour plain water or sweet liquid over the gravel. This will surely help in luring butterflies to your yard.
Step #6: Maintain the Garden
Landscaped flower garden
While maintaining a butterfly garden, care should be taken to provide a suitable environment for them. You can place some basking rocks in the rim of your garden. Anything that can deter these flies should be avoided.
Like for instance, minimize the use of chemical pesticides and insecticides. Rather opt for cultural ways to control unwanted pests and diseases. Last but not the least, arrange for garden components to minimize wind effects.
butterflies on flower
Setting up a butterfly garden is really an interesting hobby. You can spend some relaxing time watching these colorful, winged insects.
Butterfly pollination
Also, by maintaining a butterfly garden, you are indirectly helping these colorful flies by providing habitats, which are reduced significantly due to human intervention.