Here are 6 simple things you can do in your backyard to make butterflies feel right at home:
Plant your garden or wildflowers in the sunniest spot of your yard. Butterflies are cold-blooded insects that rely on the sun to stay warm. By planting flowers and flowering vegetables and fruits in direct sun, you’ll naturally attract butterflies to make themselves at home in your yard.
EXTRA CREDIT: Create a place for them to rest in the sun by laying a few flat rocks around your garden where they can land and spread their wings.
To provide butterflies with plenty of food, plant bright-colored flowering plants in your garden and around the yard. Adult butterflies fly flower to flower and feed on nectar. Be sure to water your yard plants since the supply of nectar reduces if plants struggle for water.
TIP: To attract a variety of butterflies throughout spring and summer and fall, plant a variety of plants that flower at different points of the year.
Also plant native flowers to best support the butterflies that are local to your area. A quick Google search will tell you what types of butterflies are in your area and which plants are best to plant to attract them.
Build or buy a butterfly house to create a small space for butterflies to use in your backyard (or porch or balcony). When it’s raining, they’ll seek shelter under leaves, so keep that in mind when picking what to plant in your garden and yard.
Create puddling spots around your yard by putting sand and water in small and shallow dishes outside in and around your garden.
BONUS: You can create butterfly feeders with sugar and water to keep butterflies in your area fed and hydrated.
Butterfly caterpillars like to feed on nettles, thistles, mixed grasses and ivy to name a few. Help feed them by keeping the edges of your garden or one particular area less groomed so grasses can grow taller in the summer months.
Many pesticides, in the attempt to kill and control weeds, end up killing butterflies too the same way they kill honey bees. A great way to help butterflies thrive is to avoid using pesticides in your personal landscaping. Instead, stick with a more natural approach or natural lawn products that will keep your lawn healthy and strong all year long while being welcoming to the butterflies.
While butterflies are a common sight in gardens, several species are in decline due to habitat loss. Take the few actions above, and you’ll make a big difference in keeping butterflies an integral part of our ecosystem.