Do you look at your garden and wish that there were more pops of color for a visual appeal? Do you want to be able to sit in your garden and see all types of butterflies flying around you safe and happy?
Perhaps it’s a combination of wanting to upgrade your current garden and also wanting to help the environment in some small but significant way. Whatever your reasons for redoing your garden or maybe planting your first garden; you should definitely consider the installation of a butterfly garden!
What is a butterfly garden you might be asking yourself?
It’s exactly how it sounds – a garden that is designed with the purpose of attracting butterflies and moths to your garden where they can be safe, fed and even lay their eyes to start the next generation. By having a butterfly garden in your backyard, you are providing a safe haven for an important member of the food chain and ecosystem. Butterflies are pollinators in the environment, providing a valuable service to encourage the strong and healthy growth of plants and greenery. This strong and healthy growth in turn helps trees in their task of changing carbon dioxide to oxygen which then repairs the ozone layer.
Certain butterfly species are also at risk of extinction due to the mass destruction of their habitat through human means such as logging. Logging and deforestation lead to butterflies moving along different migration patterns and encountering disease, a lack of edible plants and even busy freeways full of traffic.
Now that your interest is piqued – it is time to break down how to plant a butterfly garden in your backyard!
How to Plant a Butterfly Garden – Steps and Tips
- Determine your location: one of the most important and absolute first steps required in the planting of your butterfly garden is determining the location. You need and want the perfect location to encourage butterflies and moths to come and hang out so it should be in an area that receives ample sunlight during the day. Butterflies soak up sunlight to convert for energy that is then used during the foraging and flying parts of their day. Make sure your area, while well-lit, is also out of the way of harsh and changing wind speeds.
- Plant the right flowers: there are certain plants that will attract more butterflies than others and you want to make sure there is a healthy abundance of these to provide nutrients and food. You want to have plants such as milkweed, Canadian goldenrod, wild bergamot, and black-eyed Susan. The best thing to do would be to research the butterflies and moths native to your area to find out the best plants for them! Most butterflies love nectar-producing plants, so make sure to have some varieties of these as well in your butterfly garden.
- Give them a seat: provide flat rocks that have natural curves and grooves in them for the butterflies to take a breather and relax. These rocks will absorb the heat from the sun when placed around the flowers; allowing the butterflies to stop, rest and refuel while regulating their body temperature. They will bask on these rocks, providing the perfect setup for pictures and a chance to watch their interactions with each other.
- Drink up: you want to provide your butterflies and moths with drinking water that should be changed on a daily or every second day basis. A birdbath works the best (and will also attract other animals to hang out in your garden such as blue jays) but if you don’t have one or have the room for one – an old plate or pan will also work fine. The thing to remember is that butterflies cannot drink from open water, so a bit of sand in the bottom of the container is required to create a “puddle” of sorts. They will draw the water up and out of the sand to drink using their complex internal systems
Your butterfly garden doesn’t have to be a gigantic piece of land in your backyard but instead it can be whatever you feel comfortable managing. Remember to water your garden daily and take the time to cultivate it through compost, fertilizer, mulch and weeding. Just because your butterfly garden isn’t growing plants for pleasure or produce; it still needs your green thumb to flourish!
Make sure you have the right equipment on hand to maintain your butterfly garden such as a sturdy wheelbarrow for dragging supplies, soil, mulch and compost back and forth. You also want to invest in a steel topped shovel to make sifting through the soil a breeze but ensure that you have a pair of sturdy gardening gloves to protect the delicate skin of the hands from blisters and infection. Head over the Backyardboss.net to find out the best gardening gloves on the market!
Take your time during the process of planting your butterfly garden and once it is completed; take your favorite drink to the bench outside and be prepared to be awed by Mother Nature all over again!