I recently had the opportunity to attend another gardening class at the local Armstrong Garden Center. This one had to do with attracting butterflies to your garden. Today, I want to share with you my findings on how to plant a butterfly garden.
To my delight, I do have several kinds of plants that attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other insects. I did not plan to grow a butterfly garden, it just sort of happened due to the types of plants I prefer.
Butterflies are one of the most beautiful insects on the planet. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, which make them fun to watch as they flit from flower to flower. What’s even more amazing is that you can attract these lovely creatures to your very own backyard by planting a butterfly garden!
There are a few things you need to take into consideration when planning your butterfly garden. The first is what plants and flowers you will need. There are many different plants and flowers that butterflies are attracted to, so do some research and find out which ones grow best in your area. Once you have an idea of what plants you want, it’s time to start planting!
Plants for Butterfly Garden
You do want to be mindful of what types of plants to grow to attract butterflies to your garden. There are many plants you can grow, based on where you live. Below are many plants that attract butterflies in different ways and separated by categories. Many of these plants are native to California, although many can be found throughout the world.
Butterflies enjoy laying eggs on these plants, which will automatically add butterflies to your garden:
These are perennials, annuals, and vines that butterflies enjoy:
- Shasta daisy
- Lily of the Nile
- Passion Vine
Here are some trees and shrubs butterflies like:
- Butterfly bush
Herbs that butterflies are attracted to include:
If buying some of the seeds above separately seems overwhelming, there are seed companies out there that offer variety packs, like Botanical Gardens. Their butterfly seed varieties include:
- Bring Home the Butterflies Mix
- Butterfly Banquet Collection
- Eastern Breeze Mix
- Midwest Butterfly Collection
You also want to grow certain plants where caterpillars can lay their eggs and nectar plants to drink from. Butterflies also generally enjoy colorful plants, but to keep them in your garden longer, grow plants so that butterflies will keep coming back for you to enjoy. Coneflowers, buddleia, verbena, lantana, and aster are favored by butterflies for their nectar.
Grouping Plants Together
You want to keep your butterfly plants in the same area so that butterflies don’t have to fly too far to rest and feed. Pick different types of plants to have a nice, colorful variety for you and the butterflies to enjoy. Give a small garden more height by adding an arbor with vines if there isn’t any room for trees in your garden.
Protection from Elements
If you live in a windy area or if the wind is in your area at certain times of the year, be prepared by protecting the butterflies from the wind. Grow your butterfly garden near some trees and shrubs, if you can, to give them shelter from wind and other elements.
Avoid using pesticides, as this can harm the butterflies and your plants. If you use spray pesticides, these can remove much need protein from your plants. Use alternative organic gardening practices to rid your garden of pests.
Water and Sun
Butterflies need plenty of water and sun. Add some dirt to a shallow dish. Fill the dish with water so that it comes right up to the dirt. This will change from dirt to mud, which butterflies love. Butterflies will land in the mud and suck the water out from beneath.
Butterflies also enjoy sunlight, so grow your garden in an area that gets at least six hours of sunlight. The butterflies will enjoy the warmth of the sun while drinking nectar from your plants.
Caring for a Butterfly Garden
Caring for a butterfly garden is much like caring for any other type of garden. Water your butterfly garden plants on a regular basis and fertilize plants to encourage blooming and growth. Deadhead spent blooms to encourage new growth. Keep an eye out for pests and diseases, and treat them accordingly.
Butterfly Garden Questions
Below are some commonly asked questions about how to plant a butterfly garden. These might answer some or all the questions you have about how to plant a butterfly garden!
When should you plant a butterfly garden?
The best time to plant a butterfly garden is in the spring. This gives the plants time to establish themselves before the butterflies arrive. If you live in an area with a longer growing season, you’ll have more plants to choose from.
What do you need to plant a butterfly garden?
To plant a butterfly garden, you’ll need:
- Plants that provide nectar for adult butterflies
- Host plants for butterfly larvae
- Plants that offer shelter from the wind and sun
How do you layout a butterfly garden?
When you’re planning the layout for your butterfly garden, consider:
- The plants you want to use
- The size of your garden space
- The amount of sun and shade in different areas of your garden
You can make your garden as small or large as your outdoor space allows. Be creative and have fun growing a variety of plants to attract butterflies to your garden!
Where is the best place to plant a butterfly garden?
If you have the space, plant your butterfly garden in a sunny spot that gets at least six hours of sun each day. If you don’t have a lot of space to work with, try planting near a south- or west-facing wall. This will give the plants in your garden enough sun while still providing some shelter from the wind.
How to Plant a Butterfly Garden
By utilizing all these steps, you will attract butterflies to your garden in no time. Don’t be surprised if hummingbirds also visit, as they enjoy many of the same plants as butterflies do. Enjoy adding new plants to your butterfly garden year after year to attract even more beautiful butterflies your way.
What plants do you have in your butterfly garden or are planning to add? I hope you learned something new by reading How to Plant a Butterfly Garden. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.