Want to attract butterflies to your yard? In addition to nectar-rich plants, such as butterfly bush, here are some simple “extras” that you can include to ensure butterflies pay you a visit year after year:
Sun: When a beautiful butterfly emerges from its cocoon, it’s cold. It needs the sun to warm it up to pump blood into its veins and fly. Cut back branches of overhanging trees and shrubs so you have ample sunshine.
Basking: Butterflies love to bask in the sun. Provide them with a big, flat rock to sunbathe in your garden. Bring a cup of coffee outside and look to see butterflies basking in the cooler morning hours.
Butterfly House: A butterfly house or hibernation box is a wonderful garden accessory for your butterfly haven. Place it several feet above the ground in a lightly shaded area. Butterflies will seek refuge in the narrow openings of the house where predators can’t enter. A butterfly house also provides protection from wind and rain in summer storms. To be a good backyard host, place your butterfly house near nectar-rich plants.
Puddling: Male butterflies love to hang out by the water cooler and discuss their female counterparts—the only difference is their water cooler is usually a mud puddle! Males love mud puddles on a sunny day (especially after a good rain) and drink the salt and minerals from the soil, which they later pass to females during mating. Salts and minerals greatly improve the health of a butterfly egg, ensuring generations to come. You can make your own at home, by adding sand and water to a saucer and placing it in your garden; you can even add a pinch of salt.
Butterfly Attractant: Butterflies are pollinators that only drink liquids, and they love nectar. Place a homemade butterfly feeder in your garden and butterflies will be well-fed in their new haven. Butterflies love rotted fruit with a little fruit juice poured over to keep it from drying out—simply place it in a saucer and suspend in a shadier spot. We hope these extras help you attract more butterflies to your backyard and give you more opportunities for butterfly watching and picture taking!