When I think of butterflies, my mind has happy thoughts. There’s just so much beauty in butterflies that a lot of homeowners wanted them in their yards. Having different butterfly species can significantly enhance your yard’s aesthetic look. But butterflies are elusive insects, so how do you attract them to your yard?
To attract butterflies to your yard, you need to provide them with sufficient food and water. Also, make your yard replicate the ideal habitats for butterflies by creating warmth, cutting down on weeding, and avoiding pesticides.
Leave over-ripened fruits on the ground and plant various flowers for them to feed. You can also create a conducive shelter for caterpillars and butterflies to breed and fly without struggle.
Attracting butterflies can be challenging if you do not set your yard correctly. Are you wondering how to achieve this? Read on.
What Can You Put in Your Yard to Attract Butterflies?
Attracting butterflies to your yard shouldn’t be a painstaking task as long as you put the necessary stuff in it. Making the correct modification to your yard can get you a chance to interact with these colorful and playful butterflies regularly.
Here are seven things you can do to attract butterflies to your yard:
1. Provide Food
Feeding is the fundamental essence of every organism. Therefore, providing food is the number one thing that can make your yard attractive for butterflies.
Grown butterflies feed on nectar from flowers, fruits, and plant stalks. Grow various nectar-rich plants and flowers to encourage butterflies to come to your yard.
Plants that flower throughout all seasons are best to cultivate to attract different butterflies into your space. Also, ensure you keep the plants and flowers watered for them to produce enough nectar.
Butterflies like to feed on nectar from these kinds of plants:
- And many more.
Bushy grass and green plants are feeding sites for caterpillars that grow to become butterflies.
Water is also essential to butterflies. Most butterflies avoid looking for water in places that expose them to predators. Therefore, you should provide water in butterfly feeders and place them in areas hidden from predators.
2. Create Warmth
Butterflies are heterothermy, meaning their bodies can’t internally regulate temperatures. They get warmth from the sun to get the energy to function. Your yard should be spacious enough with open areas to allow sunlight and offer space for the butterflies to roam.
However, be careful not to create large spaces which will expose the butterflies to strong winds. Butterflies avoid strong winds that hinder free-fly. Block winds from all sides by planting tall trees around the yard while allowing light to penetrate and leaving space.
You can only attract butterflies native to your locality to come to your yard. Research to determine what these insects enjoy feeding on and the things they lack from other areas.
Not all butterfly species live within your locality. Learning the ones that fly in your local area can be helpful for you when setting your yard. Research their breeding patterns, habits, the amount of light they need, and how different seasons affect them.
4. Create Shelter
Most butterfly species are weak insects requiring shelter when wind storms and rains come. Create a sanctuary for butterflies where they can retreat during rainy seasons. Some species also look for havens for breeding. Butterflies also need hideaways when preyed on by birds and reptiles.
Provide spacious butterfly houses in your garden for butterflies to hide in times of adversity. More so, you can plant trees and grasses with large leaves where butterflies can find shelter.
In these shelter spots, butterflies lay eggs, let larvae and chrysalises grow in before they become adult butterflies. Therefore, having enough shelter spots in your garden contributes to the continuity of butterfly generation, encouraging them to stay.
5. Cut Down on Weeding
The beautiful butterflies you want to attract to your yard grow from caterpillars and moths. Therefore, if you want butterflies to frequent your yard, you must create an ideal environment for moths and caterpillars.
Butterflies migrate more during mating and breeding seasons. You are more likely to attract them if you stop cutting down weeds where they breed. Leave your yard to grow wild and bushy around the edges to support these creatures.
Larvae and moths feed on mixed grass, thistles, ivy, and nettles. Welcome these shrubs and grasses within your flowers and scented plants for the caterpillars to feed.
Also, you can buy and install butterfly maternity houses—butterflies like laying eggs in secure places away from predators.
6. Leave Fallen Fruit on the Ground
Your garden should have plenty of food materials to attract insects. Some butterflies enjoy sucking sugary juices from fruits. Discard rotting and overripe berries, pears, and apples around your yard for the butterflies to flock in and feed.
Butterflies don’t get comfortable feeding on too hard foods, so throw those ripe and rotten fruits out on the compost heap and enjoy seeing the colorful insects crowding around them.
You can also purchase butterfly foods to supplement the natural foods in your yard.
7. Avoid Pesticides
Pesticides affect all pollinating insects in your yard. Butterflies hibernate and avoid places where they can smell pesticides.
Also, avoid buying flowers, plants, and fruits from sites previously treated with pesticides. Butterflies enjoy natural niches not treated with any chemicals.
You can grow your organic plants if you can’t afford to buy them from other garden centers. Do not risk keeping butterflies away by bringing in plants from places you may have previously treated with pesticides. Let your yard remain as natural as possible throughout the year.
What Foods Attract Butterflies?
Most garden owners wish to welcome butterflies visiting their yards. Apart from bringing a beautiful sight, butterflies help in pollinating plants when searching for nectar.
If you want to attract and maintain butterflies in your garden, you should know the foods the colorful insects enjoy feeding on.
Butterflies use their proboscis (a straw-like tube) to suck juices from food. However, they use their feet to taste food. These are some of the butterflies’ favorite foods.
Nectar is the principal source of food for butterflies. The attractive insects suck nectar from flowers and plants. Most butterfly species enjoy sucking nectar from flowers and plants openly exposed to sunlight but in sheltered areas.
Your yard should have plants that flower throughout the year to have sufficient nectar for butterflies at all times. Your yard needs to have a food supply for butterflies all the seasons to attract butterflies.
Some of the nectar-rich plants you may need to consider growing in your yard include:
- Hebe – these plants are highly reliable to flower all year round. Their flowers attract butterflies, especially in the summer.
- Marjoram – these plants can grow up to 80cm tall. They produce pink, white, or purple flowers, noticeable by butterflies looking for nectar. They primarily flower from June to September.
- Buddleia – these plants are commonly referred to as butterfly bush because of their ability to grow bushy. They are of different colors and produce multi-colored flowers in July and August.
- Verbena – are tall plants producing numerous purple flowers on their wiry stems. They are a favorite source of nectar for butterflies that enjoy flying higher.
All butterflies enjoy a sweet treat from fruits, especially in autumn when most plants do not flower. The sugary juices from rotten and over-ripened fruits help butterflies to stay healthy and keep fit.
Avoid cleaning up fruits falling from plants to the ground. The fruits ripen for producing juicy foods for butterflies and other insects.
Here are some of the fruits that most butterflies enjoy feasting on:
If you have banana plants in your yard, don’t toss the overly ripe bananas. Let the bananas stay on the ground because butterflies enjoy and devour mushy bananas.
However, you need to provide some more help by peeling the bananas and place them strategically in your yard. You will be surprised to see how many butterflies will fly into your yard to get a share.
Don’t hesitate to buy bananas if you don’t grow them in your yard. Keep them to be overly ripe, then throw them in the yard while peeled.
After eating that watermelon, don’t be tempted to pitch that rind after eating that watermelon because it can help you attract butterflies in your yard.
Place that watermelon rind in a clean dish and expose it for the butterflies to feed. Butterflies have long proboscises helpful in picking the remaining juice in the watermelon rind.
Orange peels that you think are waste can be sources of food for butterflies. Squeeze the peels to get the remaining juices into a dish. You can also place the peels in the container. Butterflies will enjoy juice using their tongues.
The sugary juices from fruits and nectar provide butterflies with energy. However, butterflies have to find other sources of food to get additional nutrients and minerals.
If you observe butterflies’ feeding habits, you may find them sucking muddy puddles. The insects suck minerals and salts from the mud when they sip from the reservoir.
Primarily, male butterflies feed on the muddy puddles to boost their sperm quality. They pass these minerals to females during mating. The minerals are essential for reproduction.
How Do I Make My Garden Butterfly-friendly?
Butterflies’ natural habitats have been shrinking throughout the years due to urbanization and other development programs.
It can be challenging to attract butterflies to your yard, especially if you live in the city, but you can take steps to make your garden more butterfly-friendly. Here are some of these steps:
- Ensure that everything they need is provided in the habitat you’re creating for them. Provide sufficient water, food, and ensure aeration. You can grow flowers and plants in pots and containers if you lack enough space. Prepare your yard in the sunniest area possible because butterflies rely on sunlight to regulate their body temperature.
- Make sure that the area is livable not just for butterflies, but for caterpillars too. Butterflies grow from caterpillars that feed on green plants and grass to develop into butterflies. Don’t clear weeds and shrubs growing around your yard to provide their larvae with food. Grow a lot of nectar sources, fruits, and plants in your yard for the butterflies.
- Prepare and maintain muddy puddles in your yard where butterflies can suck minerals. These minerals have nutrients that keep them strong and healthy. Male butterflies depend on these minerals to increase their sperm quality. Butterflies crowd around puddles and damp spots in the yard, so make sure to maintain these puddles for the butterflies to keep coming back to your yard.
- Always protect your yard from predators that may eat butterflies and caterpillars. Butterflies may get scared away when they see predators such as birds. Keep bir feeding spots far away from your butterfly yard to avoid the birds from feeding on the insects.
- Maintainance. Attracting butterflies to your yard doesn’t take just one day. Constantly water your plants to produce more nectar and grow leaves and flowers for the caterpillars to feed on. This will ensure they will come back and eventually, stay in your yard
Attracting butterflies to your garden is a fascinating idea, especially if you are fond of colorful and playful insects. They beautify your yard and bring life to it.
Start by providing food and water in your yard. Having food and water will make the insects flock in to feed and quench their thirst. Next, create shelter spots where the insect mates, breeds, and hides when the weather is terrible.
Keep predators away from the butterflies. Butterflies will start to breed in your yard if you provide food, water, shelter and protect them from predators consistently, bringing more of them in a few days.
Butterfly yards are developing into big businesses. You can offer your butterflies to release at distinguished events such as weddings and birthday parties. Most people enjoy watching butterflies filling the air around them.