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8 Ways to Attract Butterflies to Your Yard

Ever wonder about how to attract more butterflies to your yard or garden?  Well, the key is to welcome them with open arms and a hospitable environment!  If you also make it safe for them to lay their caterpillar eggs in your yard, you will be rewarded with a constant stream of beautiful guests throughout the growing season!  Here’s a quick cheat-sheet on how to create a lovely butterfly space:

  1. Start with the sunniest and warmest area of your yard.  Even a large window box will do, if you don’t have a huge outdoor space.  Butterflies are cold-blooded, and they need sun and warmth to move about and to feed.  You will want a space that gets a minimum of 6 hours sun per day during the growing season.
  2. Provide them with the thing they love most in the world…nectar!  The best way to do this is to plant flowering plants that are native to your area, because there will be a long-standing relationship between the area butterflies and the native plants.  For a handy list by state of which butterflies reside there and what plants will be good matches, check out the  The Butterfly Site.
  3. Certain colors are more attractive to butterflies than others…plant flowers in red, yellow, orange, pink and purple, and you will have the best luck attracting butterflies to your home. You should also try to plant a garden that blooms continuously during the growing season, so that there will always be food available for the butterflies.
  4. Organic gardening is a must.  Perhaps this goes without saying, but is worth mentioning… You must never use any insecticides or herbicides in the area where you hope to host your pretty winged friends.  Even products that might be considered safe for butterflies are probably lethal to caterpillars.  So just avoid their use entirely.
  5. Speaking of caterpillars…don’t forget to provide food for the caterpillars as well.  While a caterpillar’s first food is its own shell, they will quickly move on to plants.  Keep in mind that the caterpillar food plants will get a very “munched over” look, so you might want to tuck them into a less visible area, but still close to the butterfly plants.
  6. Provide a place to rest.  Ideally, if we are talking about a garden space, a large rock that gets warmed up by the sun would be best.
  7. Provide water.  Called “puddling”, butterflies do need water, and as the name suggests, it should be in the form of a puddle. What this means is you need some kind of container, or even a small plastic-lined trench in the ground.  Add sand, and fill the container with water to the top of the sand.  Throw in a few twigs or rocks for the butterflies to land on while they drink.
  8. Sit back and wait for them to come!  You might strategically place some chairs in view of the butterfly area so that you can enjoy watching your visitors!

by See Jane Drill, Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved