Attracting Butterflies

Attracting beautifully colored butterflies to your backyard can be a fun and rewarding experience. There are more than 700 species of butterflies in North America and they live from 10 days to 6 months.

A few basic essentials will encourage a successful butterfly garden.

Butterfly Friendly Flowers

Butterflies need plants that provide nectar for the adults to eat and also those that provide food for their caterpillar offspring.

They are attracted to bright colored flowers – reds, oranges, Yellows, Purples and Vibrant Pinks.

Flowers and plants that attract butterflies include Asters, Black-eyed Susans, Cosmos, Cornflowers, Daisies, Day Lilies, Dianthus, Impatiens, Milkweed, Petunias, Purple Coneflowers, Salvia, Scarlet Sage, Snapdragons, Sweet Alyssum, Verbenas, and Zinnias. Caterpillars also like Queen Anne’s Lace, Snapdragons, Sunflowers and Violets. Ideally your garden will have staggered bloom times for a full season.

Sunny Location

Butterflies prefer sunny spots away from traffic. Ideally your butterfly garden will have 5 to 6 hours of sun a day.

Shelter from Wind

A windbreak or wind block will encourage butterflies into your garden. They don’t like to have to fight the wind to stay on plants.

Rest & Water

Butterflies like large flat rocks to sun themselves. They also need water and prefer sand filled puddles. You can either fill a shallow bowl with sand or dig a shallow hole (1-inch deep) and fill it with sand, and then just keep the sand moist. If there is room add a few small flat rocks in your butterfly beach.

On a final note, many insecticides are lethal to butterflies (particularly while caterpillars) so don’t use them anywhere near your butterfly garden. Use organic mulches and fertilizers for planting.