Butterflies are beautiful creatures that bring movement to a garden space. They’re also pollinators with vital roles in the ecosystem. Providing space in your garden and landscaping for butterflies will positively impact the entire area around your home, as habitat loss and pesticide use are harming beneficial insect populations. The best part of attracting butterflies is it can be done simply and naturally without major changes to your existing plant life.
Native Flowering Plants
Incorporating native plants with red, yellow, orange, pink, or purple blossoms into your garden and landscaping provides a food source easily recognized by butterflies. These organisms have co-evolved to be beneficial for each other, and their individual survival ultimately depends on the other.
If you do not currently have space for new plants, adding planters or window boxes are great ways to increase the area in which you can support flowers. Butterflies need warm places to eat, so place these additions where they will get maximum sunlight throughout the day.
You can also create season-long food sources for butterflies by choosing flowers that bloom continuously — as one plant stops blooming, another starts. You can support full butterfly life stages by also including plants that caterpillars will use to feed.
Insecticides are used to keep insects from damaging plants, but they also significantly harm essential pollinators like butterflies. Removing insecticides from your garden or landscaping provides a safe location for butterflies to live and lay their eggs. More beneficial insects like spiders, ladybugs, praying mantises, and dragonflies will also return to your space without the harmful effects of insecticides.
Provide a Desirable Habitat
Adding native plants is one step to creating an ideal butterfly habitat, but it is not the only step. Leaving fallen fruit on the ground provides a food source late through the year. Trees and shrubs offer protection from weather and predators. Provide a place for butterflies to partake in ‘puddling’ behavior, drinking water and extracting minerals, by adding a shallow pan with moist, coarse sand. Letting some weeds grow in a section of your garden or landscape also gives caterpillar larvae a safe place to grow and cocoon.
For more ideas on how to make your landscape welcoming to butterflies, get in touch with us!