Gardening Tips for Butterfly Gardening

Butterflies add more color to an existing colorful garden area. By adding various plants, butterflies will lay eggs, turn to caterpillars and eventually grown into adults. With attractive plants, the butterflies will remain in the area, creating a beautiful show of color and activity for you to enjoy for years.

Before planting, research the species of butterflies in your area. Plant your butterfly garden in a spot that receives at least five to six hours of sun per day. This gives the butterflies a warm spot to soak up heat they require before flight. Adding a couple of stones in your garden gives the butterflies a warmer place to rest.

Never add pesticides to your garden! Pesticides can kill off the caterpillars that are soon to be adults. If birds are a problem, screen in the garden area, or remove caterpillars from plants and place them in cages. Give them plenty of fresh leaves of the plants they prefer. Once the caterpillar has molted five to six times, it will spin a cocoon. When the cocoon turns a clear color, they are about to emerge as adult butterflies. After the butterflies appear, release them into the wild so they can continue to bring beauty to your garden.

Fire ants are the only exception to the pesticide rule. If fire ants appear, read the package label carefully. Sprinkle bait around plants to kill the ants.

Butterflies also love water. Adding a small dish of water or having a birdbath near is the optimal environment for the colorful fliers.

Planting for a butterfly garden includes plants that the caterpillars will eat and plants that provide nectar for the adults. Some of the most common plants that will attract butterflies are the azalea, black-eyed Susan, butterfly bush, butterfly weed, Egyptian star flower, ironweed, Joe-Pye weed, lantana, French marigold, New England aster, purple coneflower, the swamp milkweed, blazing star, vervain and zinnia, to name a few.

Butterflies see more colors than humans visually pick up. They seem to be more attracted to red, orange, yellow, purple and dark pink. The scent of the flowers are important as well when working on a butterfly garden.

The gardening advice readily given when opting to plant a butterfly garden is to supply plenty of brightly colored, scented flowers that keep in the parameters of the colors listed above. Butterflies will be able to see the colors of your garden easily and will remain in the area if the proper plants are provided as well.