It is possible to create a beautiful butterfly garden anywhere, even in a suburban or urban area. All you need is a yard of any size or a landscaped garden. Your butterfly garden can be confined to a sunny space suitable for growing the types of plant that will attract butterflies, or you can make plans to turn all of your outdoor space into a welcoming habitat for butterflies.
To find out more about how to start a butterfly garden, use the following steps.
1. Get to Know Your Local Butterflies
First you need to know how to start a butterfly garden that is going to suit the species that naturally occur in the area where you live. Information about butterflies are in your area can be found by looking up in a butterfly book, asking someone from your local naturalist society or visiting a website about the wildlife in your area.
Make a list of all of all the local butterfly species that you can attract. Some adult butterflies prefer to be in a location where they can lay their eggs on a specific type of plant, so you also need to note what plants each species may rely on for breeding.
You also need to know how to provide the best nectar sources for the butterflies in your locality that you want to attract. Different species of butterfly have their own feeding preferences, although many of them will sip nectar from more than one type of flower.
Once you know how to start a butterfly garden, you might be able to help some of the native species that are becoming rare because their natural habitat is under threat.
2. Decide What You Need to Plant
A butterfly garden must have suitable nectar plants that are in flower when adult butterflies are around to feed on the nectar. If you want to provide food for caterpillars that will eventually become butterflies, you will also need some host plants.
Plants that attract native butterflies will be ones that grow naturally in your area and will grow well in your butterfly garden when you provide the right conditions.
Choose different varieties of flowering plants that come into bloom at various times of the year. Some of them should be in flower when a greater number of butterflies are around in the late summer months and early in the fall.
3. Plan Your Butterfly Garden
The best way to decide how to start a butterfly garden is by designing a suitable layout. Plan it so that larger bushes will grow in corners or at the back, with shorter bushes growing around them and the smallest plants at the front.
Host plants where butterflies lay their eggs and caterpillars feed before they pupate should not be too far from the nectar plants, so that newly emerging butterflies will quickly arrive at a food source.
Remember that you must not use any insecticide anywhere near a butterfly garden, because the chemicals will kill what you are trying to attract.
Host plants get nibbled a lot when caterpillars emerge from the eggs of a butterfly. If you don’t want to see a lot of your garden plants showing signs of being eaten, surround them with nectar plants. Anything that provides nectar will not get eaten, because only the adult butterflies feed from them by sipping at the flowers.
4. Encourage More Butterflies
Butterflies prefer bright sunny places, but that does not mean you can’t attract them into shadier parts of your butterfly garden. You can encourage more butterflies by hanging up a few butterfly feeders in shady areas. These can contain soft fruit or you can purchase some specially formulated food for butterflies.
After you have done your research into the different species of butterfly and the plants they rely on, it’s not difficult to plan what to plant, where to place bushes and flowering plants and how your butterfly garden will look at different times of the season. When you know how to start butterfly garden, you can design a layout that will make it look beautiful as well as providing a perfect and peaceful habitat for butterflies.