Create a Small-Scale Butterfly Garden

Easy steps for making your yard butterfly-friendly.
Butterfly Bush

Butterfly Bush

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Nectar-rich plants, such as the butterfly bush, will attract butterflies and moths into your garden with mauve, pink, red, or white summer flowers.

Who doesn’t love butterfly gardens? If the idea of bountiful flowers alive with the fluttering of colorful wings appeals to you – but you don’t have a lot of yard space to devote – you’re in luck: even small spaces can accommodate a butterfly garden.

Here’s what you’ll need to keep in mind as you plan your garden:

  • Size Matters: Many of the plants that attract butterflies require space to sprawl, so choose large pots, planters, or alternate containers.
  • Pick a Location: While butterflies are attracted to sunny areas, it’s also a good idea to situate the containers near a wall to block wind and provide the insects with shelter if needed. Keep in mind that the same plants that attract butterflies often attract bees and other stinging insects, so consider placing your butterfly garden away from play areas.
  • Butterfly Beverages: Butterflies aren’t able to drink from ponds or bird baths – they prefer shallow sources of water like puddles. So create your garden in an area where water collects after it rains, or create your own puddles around the garden to give your winged friends a place to sip.
  • Need Nectar: Butterflies love nectar-producing plants like sweetpea and marigold. Choose a diverse range of plants to attract different species, and be sure to include a few taller plants to provide additional protection from strong breezes. Which plants you choose may also depend on your region. Search the Internet for a local butterfly club to get more information on which butterflies frequent your area – and how to attract them.

Now that you’ve got what you need, it’s time to get started! Before long, your yard will be filled with a mosaic of wings.

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