How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden

How top attract butterflies to your garden

It was National Butterfly Awareness Day on Saturday, which got me thinking about butterflies and how to attract them to the garden.

I used to have a gorgeous cottage garden full of butterfly-friendly well established plants, including a huge buddleia they loved. The garden was always full of flitting butterflies but this new one – which was devoid of everything except a dilapidated pond – is pretty empty.

So! I am now on a mission, not only to get the garden looking lovely but also attracting butterflies too.

But what to plant? The Eden Project has these tips:

To attract butterflies, it helps to start off by encouraging caterpillars to breed. Believe it or not, caterpillars are fussy eaters. If they don’t have the right type of leaf to eat, they’d rather starve than vary their diet with another leaf. Plant caterpillar-friendly plants and they’ll lay their eggs on these particular leaves (and not your cabbages), happily transforming into butterflies.

These plants are a caterpillar’s delight:

  • Dutchman’s pipe – look out for Pipevine swallowtail butterfly
  • Milkweed – look out for Monarch butterfly
  • Black eyed susan – look out for Great spangled fritillary butterfly

Plant a garden awash with colour
Plant in clumps of colour, as this will gain butterflies attention more than isolated flowers. Butterflies are particularly attracted to pinks, purples and yellows so think pink flowering clematis, the aptly named butterfly bush (buddleia), rosemary with its beautiful blue flowers, and lavender.

Create a butterfly sunbed
Did you know that butterflies need to be between 28-38 degrees celsius, and that they struggle to fly when they’re too cold? That’s why butterflies love sunbathing on large flat stones that have spent all day absorbing the sun. In your garden, it’s really helpful if you leave a few flat stones around in sunny south facing positions sheltered from the wind to give them a nice warm resting place.

Avoid using nasty chemicals
Most of those harmful chemicals that get rid of garden pests also get rid of butterflies. Instead, try coir compost. It’s naturally insect and pest-resistant, while encouraging your plants to grow healthily. Coir is a wonderfully sustainable product, as it’s made out of the inner coconut husk – a by-product that would usually be thrown away.

Luckily, I LOVE lavender, and I shall be planting this in abundance.

I might even edge the lawn at the front with it so it engulfs you with its aroma as you wander past. I’d better done my gardening gloves and get planting!

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