What Attracts Butterflies to Your Garden?

red and yellow butterflyColorful wings, intriguing life cycles, and a graceful flying style make butterflies some of the most interesting creatures in the natural world. Their fluttering presence not only enriches our gardens and outdoor spaces but also provides an important link in the food chain.

But why are butterflies attracted to certain gardens and not others? By understanding what these delicate creatures need to thrive, we can create butterfly-friendly environments that provide food, water, and shelter – everything they need to survive and even flourish.

When you hire JC’s Landscaping for landscaping installation and construction, we can help you choose the best flowers to attract butterflies.

Here are some of the things that butterflies look for when they’re on the hunt for a new place to call home:

Flower Type

One of the most important things butterflies need is a continuous supply of nectar-rich flowers. 

When choosing plants for your butterfly garden, look for plant species that produce large quantities of nectar and that have long flowering seasons. Some of the best choices include coneflowers, cosmos, daylilies, impatiens, and zinnias.

In addition to nectar, many butterflies also feed on pollen. To attract these pollinators to your garden, plant species that are known to produce high amounts of pollen, such as marigolds and sunflowers.

Flower Color

Butterflies are attracted to certain colors more than others. Reds, yellows, oranges, and purples are particularly appealing to these insects, so try to include a mix of these hues in your butterfly garden.

Overripe Fruit

Some butterflies are attracted to overripe fruit. If you want to attract these types of butterflies to your garden, consider planting fruits and vegetables known to attract them, such as bananas, melons, and squash.

Water Sources

Butterflies need water just like any other creature, so it’s important to provide a source of fresh water in your butterfly garden. A small birdbath or shallow dish filled with sand and pebbles is all you need to give these insects the hydration they crave.

Shelter

When it comes to shelter, butterflies are looking for two things: a place to rest and a place to lay their eggs. To provide both of these things, you’ll need to include a mix of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants in your butterfly garden.

Some of the best choices for shelter include butterfly bushes, lilacs, milkweed, and thistles. These plants provide a place for butterflies to rest and produce the leaves that caterpillars feed on.

What Food Do Larvae Feed On?

While adult butterflies feed on nectar, larvae (or caterpillars) feed on leaves. To make sure your butterfly garden can support the entire life cycle of these insects, choose plants that produce a lot of leaves, such as cabbage and lettuce. Some feed on flowers and seed heads.

 

What Food do Adult Butterflies Feed On?

turk's cap
Turk’s Cap

Most adult butterflies feed on nectar from flowers using their long, tube-like tongues. Some of the best flowers for butterfly gardens include cosmos, daylilies, impatiens, and zinnias.

Butterflies also like the tubular shape of the native flower, Turk’s Cap.  For more information on native species, check out this article titled, “Native Plants of North Texas.”

Adult butterflies also feed on pollen, which they collect from the stamen of flowers using their hairy bodies. To attract these pollinators to your garden, add plant species that are known to produce high amounts of pollen, such as marigolds and sunflowers.

In addition to nectar and pollen, some adult butterflies also feed on overripe fruit. If you want to attract these types of butterflies to your garden, consider planting fruits and vegetables that are known to attract them, such as bananas, melons, and squash.

What is “Puddling?”

Mud Puddling is a behavior that some adult butterflies exhibit in which they collect minerals and other nutrients from damp soil. To accommodate these butterflies, you’ll need to include a bare patch of soil in your butterfly garden.

This works best if you have a sunny spot in your yard where the soil stays moist but not soggy. You can also add a shallow dish of water to this area to provide an extra source of moisture.

Which Plants Do Butterflies like to lay Their Eggs On? 

More often than not, butterflies will lay their eggs on the same plants that their larvae feed on. This ensures that there will be a food source for the caterpillars once they hatch.

Some of the best choices for egg-laying include cabbage, lettuce, and milkweed. These plants produce a lot of leaves, which caterpillars need to survive.

What is the Butterfly Life Cycle?

The butterfly life cycle consists of four stages: egg, caterpillar (larva), pupa (chrysalis), and adult. Most butterflies will go through this cycle multiple times throughout their lives, each taking about a month to complete.

butterfly on purple flowerWrapping Up

Some of the best plants to add to your garden if you want to attract butterflies include:

  • Butterfly bush
  • Lilac
  • Milkweed
  • Thistle
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Cosmos
  • Daylily
  • Impatiens
  • Zinnia
  • Marigold
  • Sunflower

These plants provide food and shelter for butterflies at different life cycle stages. By including a variety of these plants in your garden, you can create a space that is inviting for these pollinators.

There are even some trees and bushes that attract butterflies.  Our team members can plant those trees and bushes for you.

We hope this guide has been helpful. Thank you for reading!

 

View PDF: What Attracts Butterflies to Your Garden?

 

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