It’s nearly impossible to not adore butterflies. Their magnificent colors, their haphazard flight patterns, and gentle demeanor make their presence a welcome one whenever they happen to flutter into your garden. You can allure these beguiling insects to your backyard garden; in this day of urbanization and shrinking spots of greenery, it almost feels imperative for you to do so. The good news here is, you can turn your garden into a lush butterfly paradise by utilizing a few easy design tactics.
1. Host a Butterfly Before They Spread Their Wings
One of the neat tricks behind getting butterflies to your garden is to create an environment where they can live and thrive before they make their metamorphosis. You can do this by reserving some of your garden space for host plants.
These plants are inadvertently designed to provide caterpillars with a place to live and eat all at once. The association that caterpillars enjoy with plants is surprisingly specific – if a butterfly hatches an egg on the wrong plant type, the caterpillar will die.
As such, having the right host plant will most likely translate to having several butterflies flutter into your backyard to lay eggs. Ideally, you’ll want to place these plants near the stuff you’ll want to have pollenated, but there’s a catch. Since caterpillars will nibble away at your plants, you’ll want to make sure they’re semi-hidden, unless displaying munched leaves is your thing.
2. Butterfly Nectar Plants
A butterfly needn’t be ready to lay eggs to visit your garden. However, if you do want a steady stream of flutterers dropping by and saying hello, you will need to create a plant-based space in your garden that will attract them and their beauty.
The best way to do this is to place a host of nectar-producing plants in your garden. The strategy here is to provide the critters with flowers that bloom throughout a given season. Ideally, you’ll want to have flowers that are in full bloom mid to late summer, as this is when butterfly activity is at its peak.
There are dozens of floral options for you to choose from, any self-respecting nursery or garden center should be able to point you in the right direction when you’re ready to buy the right flowers. Fortunately, some of the most popular flowers have names that make them pretty easy to spot, like Butterfly Weed or Butterfly Bush.
3. Spruce up your Hedges
If you already have a garden that’s stocked with flowers, plants, and the like, you may be a little reluctant to add plants to your garden just because of space. But have no fear – you can perform a work-around to this issue. All you need is a hedge and a little creativity.
If you have a hedge somewhere in your garden, it could currently be nothing more than a green wall of boredom. It doesn’t have to be this way, especially if you’re interested in having your yard become a haven for fluttery items. It is possible to intertwine butterfly-attracting plants with some of your hedge’s gaps.
Granted, there are a few tricks that you need to deploy to make this strategy work, such as figuring out how to water and root the intertwined plants. However, figuring this out will not only increase your chances of attracting butterflies, it will give your garden an extra pop of color.
4. Lay Out Some Fruit
You don’t even need plants to attract butterflies. You can attract your fair share of flutterers by merely leaving out freshly cut fruit in your garden. Needless to say, doing this method of attraction comes with a few unique strategies and challenges to pull it off properly.
Firstly, you don’t just want to set out a plate that has a bunch of fruit on it. While that can technically work, it looks tacky and will stick out in your garden like a sore thumb. Your best bet here is to present the fruit in a way that integrates well with the rest of your garden’s aesthetic.
For instance, you can place fruit within the confines of a shallow, earth-toned planter. Also, be sure to add something decorative to accompany the fruit, like rocks, colored pebbles, or marbles. You’ll want to make sure whatever is used is elevated to make it easier for the butterflies to access.
You don’t have to solely stick to one fruit, either. A hodgepodge of oranges, berries, apples, and peaches will add an extra design element along with giving the butterflies a buffet. Just don’t forget to change the fruit on a routine basis before they start rotting.
5. Sugar Water
We all like sweet things, and butterflies are no exception. If you don’t want to deal with the cost of cutting up and laying out fruit, you can still provide your local butterflies with a chance to indulge their figurative sweet tooth. All it takes is a scouring pad and some sugar water.
It may sound a bit odd, but a scouring pad will absorb and retain a good amount of sugar water – good enough to allow butterflies to fly in and have a sufficient enough nibble. What’s more, deploying this tactic won’t take up a whole lot of space in your garden.
Just like the fruit plate, you don’t want to just plop a scouring pad on a plate; it’s in your best interest to gussy it up, if only for improved aesthetics. With that being said, a scouring pad’s compact size may allow you the chance to hide it out of obvious sight a little bit better than a plate of fruit.
Regardless of what tactic you use, any of these design ideas will increase your chance of being visited by a steady stream of beautiful butterflies, particularly when butterfly season is at its apex. It may even inspire you to spend more time in your garden, just for the chance to catch a glimpse of nature’s traffic.