Garden with wings: How to attract more butterflies

Butterflies are both beautiful and beneficial insects. They not only provide an enjoyable sight but also play a crucial role as pollinators, enhancing the growth of your garden in a natural way.
If you want to attract butterflies to your garden, you need to think like them. Butterflies seek a peaceful environment where they can find everything they need to live their best lives. They require a tranquil spot to lay their eggs, plants to nourish their larvae, branches for their pupae to attach to, sources of nectar, hiding places, and a comfortable resting spot. In this article, you'll discover all the necessary aspects to consider to transform your garden into a butterfly haven.

Step 1: Finding perfect place

To begin you need to find the perfect location for your butterfly garden. Butterflies, as well as the plants they are attracted to, prefer sunny spots, so look for an area that gets at least 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. 
It's also important to avoid windy locations as this can scare the butterflies away and make them less likely to breed and thrive in your garden.

Step 2: Arranging a flower garden

Since butterflies feed on nectar, it's crucial to plant flowers that will provide them with a source of food. These can include both annual and perennial flowering plants and shrubs. 
Keep in mind that some butterflies can be selective, so it's best to plant a variety of flowers to attract a diverse range of species to your garden. Additionally, it's important to choose plants that have different flowering periods, so the butterflies can have access to nectar throughout the season until they enter their dormancy.
Here are some examples:

Plants that flower in May:

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Plants that flower in June:

Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
Coneflower (Echinacea spp.)

Plants that flower in Jule:

Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum)
Russian sage (Salvia yangii)
Thyme (Thymus spp.)

Plants that flower in August:

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)
Aster (Symphyotrichum spp.)
Oregano (Origanum spp.)

Plants that flower in September:

Autumn joy (Sedum 'Autumn Joy')
Autumn crocus (Colchicum spp.)
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

This is just a small selection from a vast list of options. As you can see, each of these plants has its own unique appearance, allowing you to create a one-of-a-kind and stunning landscape design that will keep blooming well into the late fall season. Even if you don't manage to attract butterflies, you'll definitely end up with a beautiful blooming and fragrant garden.

Step 3: Ensuring water access

Butterflies, like all other living organisms, need not only food, but also water. This is especially true in a dry summer. In dry weather, it is vital, because there will be little nectar in the plants, too.
Therefore, you need to incorporate some kind of drinkers into your garden. This can be something as small as a small pond or fountain that will be part of your landscape design.

Step 4: Hanging feeders

This step can be neglected, but it can increase your chances of success in attracting butterflies to your garden. You can hang bird feeders filled with juice, syrup, or fruit slices. Or you can simply place a kitchen sponge soaked in sugar syrup.

However, be aware that while this may attract butterflies, it may also attract wasps. Nevertheless, wasps are also very useful insects for your garden as they feed their larvae with pests.

Step 5: Providing plants for larvae

Mature butterflies lay their eggs on specific plants that serve as a food source for their larvae. For instance, Black swallowtail butterflies prefer plants in the carrot family, including dill, fennel, and parsley, while Painted lady butterflies lay their eggs on thistle plants, hollyhocks, and other plants in the daisy family.
It's important to research the common butterflies in your area and determine which plants they prefer for egg-laying to ensure a thriving butterfly population in your garden.

Step 6: Making a shelter for winter

Butterflies find a cozy corner for themselves for the winter on the terrace, under tree bark, or in a pile of firewood. If you notice a butterfly in your house in the fall, move it to an unheated place, otherwise it will not fall into dormancy and will perish from hunger and thirst. You can help butterflies overwinter by building a special insect “hotel”.

Keep in mind:

  • Avoid using chemicals in your garden to control plant diseases and pests as this can decrease the number of butterflies. 
  • For a butterfly-friendly garden, it's essential to have a variety of plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees to keep even the most choosy butterfly happy. 
  • Don't remove all the dry stems and leaves for the winter, as they can provide shelter for caterpillars and other insects. 
  • Avoid using too many rocks, pebbles, or tiles, as this can reduce the number of places where butterflies can rest and find food.

A butterfly-friendly garden can become your personal paradise. By creating one, you are not only doing something good for the environment but also for your own garden. You will be rewarded with the beauty and grace of these delicate creatures as they flutter and dance around your garden. So why not start planning and creating your own? With 6 simple steps, you can attract these wonderful insects and create a haven for them in your own backyard.