Butterfly gardens come in all shapes and sizes. Yours can begin in a single pot - or a plot of land. You can add a few plants to a couple of beds or a window box or transform an existing garden.
Whatever you decide to do, the most important thing to remember is to have fun doing it!
With a little planning, you and your butterfly visitors will get the most out of your garden.
You’ll want to know which butterflies visit your area and then provide the nectar plants they’ll need for food and the host plants they’ll need for their eggs and larvae. Combining both types of plants will help you increase the numbers and varieties of butterflies to your garden.
To keep a steady stream of color and butterfly visitors to your garden you’ll want to include a variety of plants that bloom at varying times throughout the season. And by planting the flowers in bunches you’ll help butterflies see them from a distance.
Butterflies love the sun. Since they have no internal way to increase their body temperature, they rely on the warmth of the sun to get them going. And since most nectar plants require full sun, it is a good idea to locate your garden where it will get plenty of sun and be seen by butterflies.
Butterflies also need shelter from the wind and predators so having trees and shrubs nearby is a good idea too.
Butterflies are insects so it is wise to eliminate or restrict the use of insecticides and pesticides in or around your garden. You don't want to inadvertently kill the very creatures you are inviting to your garden.
There are alternative ways to help control pests that are less harmful to your butterfly garden. Insects such as ladybugs and spiders along with harmless snakes such as garter snakes can help control garden pests. Birds can get in on the act too adding their own form of color and beauty to your garden in the process.
If you're interested in edible plants and their role in human history, Dr. Kevin Curran maintains an informative website on the cultural history of medicinal plants.