How to Attract Butterflies
with Planting Arrangements



Arrangement of plantings can be very important
on how to attract butterflies to your butterfly garden.


  • Plants are important for the female butterfly to deposit her eggs

  • Host plants can be life and death for a butterfly species´╗┐. Depending on the plant, some butterfly larva could die if the female deposits her eggs on the wrong plant. 

  • Before the caterpillar turns into pupa, they seek shelter not only from host plants, but also under a ledge, wood pile or hedge plants.   


Nectar sources for the adult are also important.  This page covers 'the little things' which make a dramatic difference when creating a welcoming environment in your garden for butterflies:


Butterfly Attracting Plants

There are many flowers to attract butterflies but don't randomly place them around.  Focus on the idea of three square foot area - be creative. 


For informal, less structured gardens round the blockings out or have a running line along a border like a fence.  
The reason for this is depending on the species, butterflies will fly and average of one mile for food and shelter, but there are those that will fly hundreds of miles


Different butterfly species come to your garden because of the color, others fly in because of the flower scents.

Photo: Haslinda



Clusters help the butterfly identify their needs.  Flowers also have ultraviolet markings helping many flying insects to see them.  Once they arrive, clusters also allow butterflies and insects to float from flower to flower feeding easily.


When natural gardening for pollinators, studies have shown that it is good to have about 10 plant species that attract them.  More plant types will attract even more pollinators, but begins to level out at about 20 plants.






Interesting tidbits on how to attract butterflies:

  • Not all butterfly species see color.  Of those that do, they see color differently than we humans do.  For more information on the two compound eyes and ultraviolet light - butterfly anatomy.
     
Photo: PLR Photos



As a rule of thumb the colors that attract the most species of butterflies are pink, purple and yellow. 

  • Different types of plants and flowers that are found in your native plant community assembled in groupings also resist pests, diseases and other kinds of weed epidemics.  Avoid over-growing areas.  They can become matted and then possibly invite unwanted guests.






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