Who of us don’t love the beauty and magic of butterflies? Yet, when it comes to trying to attract butterflies to your garden, you may actually be driving them away. You may even be harming the butterfly population without realizing it. For instance, did you know that the Monarch butterfly population has dropped an estimated 90 percent since the 1990s? They are now being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Knowing the Dos and Don’ts of How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden
There are a few simple rules you will want to follow. Once learned, and the positive results start coming in to your garden, you will be able to promote a beautiful butterfly garden year after year.
- Chemical Pesticides: Certain chemical pesticides, such as malathion, Sevin and diazinon, will kill butterflies. Natural and organic pesticides are another option. In order to attract butterflies to your garden and make your yard a haven for them, you can take a pro-active step by educating yourself and your neighborhood and community about safe pest control methods.
- Sunshine and Bright Colors: Two things that butterflies love, and need, are sunshine and varied bright colors. Bright colors, like red, yellow, orange, pink and purple attract butterflies. And, did you know that they usually only feed in full sunshine? Also, you will want to think flat-topped blossoms.
- Milkweed and Local Native Plants: Monarch butterflies will only eat from a milkweed plant. As there are many different varieties of milkweeds, it is essential to research before you plant so that you will choose plants that are recommended for your local area. Remember, butterflies are also pollinators so by attracting them with the proper local plants you will be supporting gardening in your whole community.
- Butterfly Haven R&R: As much as butterflies love sun and color, they also love a sunny place to rest and relax. You can easily create what we call a butterfly spa. They love “puddling.” You can create this spa by filling shallow dishes or pans with sand and a bit of water and placing them in sunny spots in your yard. The butterflies will rest there, drink a little water and “mineralize.”
Enjoy this growing season, and the many seasons to come, as you attract butterflies to your garden.