Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Attracting Butterflies To Your Garden

If you would like to have beautiful butterflies in your garden, do not leave it to chance. Instead plant and design your garden with butterflies in mind. You will find that by having the right layout with the right types of plants, butterflies will be happy to call your garden paradise home.

First, butterflies like to be in areas where they are protected by the wind. Think of it from the perspective of the butterfly, and you will have an easier time imagining why. They are very light, and the wind can move their wings, so if the butterflies are going to light on your plants, they want to do so with basic protection from the wind. Design where you put the plants that will attract the butterflies with this thought in mind.

Butterflies are cold-blooded. That basically means that their body temperatures change to match the area around them, but it also means that they cannot deal with extreme colds. Instead they love to bask in the warmth of the sunlight. If you plan on attracting butterflies to your garden, then you should put the plants that will attract them in direct sunlight. It also will help the plants grow, and you probably will enjoy the plants more in the sun anyway. Because of that, everyone wins!

Butterflies light on flowers because they love the nectar in the flowers. That means that certain plants with larger flowers are easier to get nectar from, so the butterflies will tend to gravitate more toward those plants. You can do a little research to find out what plants grow well in your climate zone that also are easy nectar-producers. Be sure that you group these plants together so that they will be more likely to attract the butterflies. That is because butterflies like to be able to go to an area and light on plant after plant, so if you are able to provide a number of plants, then you are one step ahead of the game.

When you are planning the wonderful butterfly garden, you also should consider what you enjoy. The entire reason for planting a garden that will attract butterflies is that you will want to enjoy their beauty. That means that you should think about yourself, too. Decide on where you will be able to sit to enjoy the butterflies. If you already have seating there, that is great. If you do not, then you should plan to purchase a bench or put out chairs where you will be able to enjoy the garden.

Butterflies also like to drink water, and you can increase your chances of drawing in the butterflies if you will keep a small fountain with water in the basin. The fountain should flow gently so as not to scare away the butterflies. The basin should have a small pool of water with plenty of room for the creatures to drink out of it.

Do not use insecticides if you want a butterfly garden! Butterflies are insects, and many of the poisons will harm or kill them. You will not have any butterflies in your garden if you spray for other insects, so avoid those sprays altogether.

One way that you can increase the presence of butterflies in your area is to provide food for the caterpillars, which are the early stage of butterflies. If you have plants with large leaves that are great to munch, the caterpillars will be more likely to hang out in your yard. That means that they will already be there once they become butterflies, and you will be adding to the likelihood tha they will stay.

Butterflies find themselves attracted to the same plants as hummingbirds, so if you are increasing your butterfly population, you are likely to see an increase in the beautiful hummingbirds that are flying around.

The butterfly garden has a number of benefits for your other plants, but this is one area where you can definitely put yourself first. You will find that you enjoy the garden more when there are swarms of color moving around it. You should work on your butterfly garden with that in mind because when you are hot and sweaty, it will help to think of the beauty you are making happen.

By Julia Mercer

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