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How to attract butterflies to your garden? | Butterfly Garden


How to attract butterflies to your balcony?

When did you last spot a butterfly? Even better? When did a butterfly come and sit on your hands? Butterflies have become a rare sight for city dwellers. But there are ways to attract these beauties into your balconies and gardens. It will not only make your flowerbeds beautiful but will also support biodiversity at the same time. Follow the ideas mentioned in this article to create a beautiful butterfly garden at your home. 

how to attract butterflies to your garden

Garden plants that attract butterflies

Ways to attract butterflies to your yard

The first step to attracting butterflies is to start growing host plants that butterflies love. Host plants that attract butterflies are:

Curry leaf, lemon, mandarin orange, other citrus varieties, hollyhock, snapdragon, violet, oak, switchgrass, and dill. These plants are commonly called as butterfly plants. For people who live in North India, it is recommend growing lemon plant and curry leaf plants even in pots on their balconies or in their gardens. These plants attract loads of lime butterfly caterpillars in your garden. If you have a balcony, adding the above mentioned plants would attract butterflies and create a butterfly garden.

Now that you have learned how to attract butterflies to your yard to lay eggs. The next step will be to grow plants that would give sweet nectar-rich food to butterflies. Butterfly Garden brings happiness and joy to both children and adults. However, in India curry leaf plant and lemon are good plants for butterflies to lay eggs.

how to attract butterflies to your balcony
Swallowtail on Lime Tree

Flowers which butterflies likes for nectar

Butterflies like nectar-rich flowers. Some of the nectar rich flowers that one needs to grow in a butterfly garden are Bee Balm, Butterfly Bush, Buttonbush, Clove Pink, Cornflower, Cosmos, Dahlia, Daylily, False, Indigo, Floss, Globe Thistle, Goldenrod, Hollyhock, Lavender, Lavender, Mallow, Marigold, Milkweed, Phlox, Privet, Pye Weed, Salvia, Stonecrop Sedum, Sunflower, and Yarrow to name a few. One can easily discover and then grow any or many flower plants from a local nursery which is attractive to butterflies. Butterflies like to drink sweet nectar from flowers. Nectar is the food source for butterflies. Hence, an organic gardener must grow many nectar plants or foliage for butterflies to feed on.

Native plant for painted lady species of butterfly

Host plants like thistles and stinging nettle are good f you want to attract painted lady species of butterflies. This variety of butterflies is most common during summers in the UK, North Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Europe.

Nectar-rich flowers are provide food to many butterflies

The ultimate goal is to attract different butterfly species. Adult butterflies like to perch on pebbles or stones in water puddles. Ensure the water puddle or water bath is kept in full sun, and add a bit of salt. It is a perfect butterfly feeder and an essential step toward creating a butterfly garden. Many butterflies pollinate flowering plants and fill your garden with fruits. You will find many happy butterflies flutter around the garden plants. It is important to make your garden friendly and add more nectar rick flower plants to help attract them. Many butterflies visit flowers then they bloom.

Plant flowers that are attractive to butterflies

Tips for a beautiful butterfly garden

Make sure the plants stay watered because they will not produce enough nectar if they struggle for water. Butterflies are attracted to their food source, and many such plants would increase the butterfly population. Observing certain flowers on which they feed on and adding more of such plants would be the best way to attract specific species of butterflies. Certain types of butterflies like specific types of plants for their food and shelter. A good garden host will provide food for them.

A good butterfly garden must also supply food to caterpillars. They tend to grow and become pupa or chrysalis. For monarch butterfly caterpillars, milkweeds are excellent host plants. Milkweed flowers are an excellent source of nectar for butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects. As hosts, female monarchs lay their eggs on milkweeds and various butterfly caterpillars, like aster plants.

Stay away from chemicals and harsh sprays in your butterfly garden 

Do not use chemical sprays on plants in the garden, especially in the butterfly balcony garden that one is creating. Harmful chemicals and harsh sprays will discourage butterflies and pollinators from visiting the garden. Unless one has native plants and plant flowers that butterflies like, one cannot attract butterflies to your yard. Avoid all kinds of pest control sprays as it discourages butterflies. Organic gardening helps to promote the population of pollinators and other beneficial insects. As an organic gardener, one must aim to create a pollinator garden that includes growing pollen-producing plants and nectar.

Create Safe Zones or butterfly-friendly spots in your garden

Grow host plants at sunny spot

Butterflies need Sun. They are cold-blooded creatures. They need sunlight to start their day. Planting the nectar-rich flower plants in sunny areas is a must. Hence, it is essential to grow host plants and flower plants in sunny areas if you want to attract butterflies. Butterflies like brightly colored fragrant flowers as food plants. When the garden can attract adult butterflies, only they will lay their eggs on host plants. Butterflies and bees are equally crucial for the garden as bees help to pollinate flowers. 

Add a water bath to attract butterflies to your garden

The butterflies also need water to survive. Keep a water bath near to nectar source flower plant to help them drink from it. One can have a simple dish filled with water or a birdbath. Prefer a shallow dish to keep water. Butterflies flock around nectar rich flowers during sunny days. Keeping water in a shallow pan is always a good idea. If one already has muddy puddles around the garden, one would also notice them flocking around.

Tip: Keep small stones in your garden for butterflies to rest. 

Make a butterfly mud puddle

Butterflies are attracted to moist soil and water. Therefore, creating a small butterfly mud puddle would be a great addition to your space.

how to attract butterflies to your yard

How would you know that your efforts are working?

Once you have planted the plants that allure butterflies, keep a close eye, and you will notice a female butterfly flit around the plant, gently laying her next generation’s eggs, either on the stems, on the bottom of the leaves, or the top of the leaves of the host plant in rare cases. The eggs are generally laid at the bottom because it wants to protect its eggs from predators.

The tiny larvae or caterpillars will emerge in 10-14 days. They are less than an eighth-inch long and begin eating the leaves of the host plant. They grow larger every day.

They will then become chrysalis, and finally, a butterfly will emerge 2-4 weeks later.

Presence of caterpillar & larva of butterflies in butterfly garden

Not all caterpillars reach the larva stage because it is a food source for many birds and other creatures. Nature has its way of selecting and discarding too. If you are keen on saving a caterpillar and helping it reach the butterfly stage, put it in a transparent jar or box with leaves of plant from where you got the caterpillar.

Tip: When one keeps their Garden / Balcony or Terrace free from harsh chemicals and pesticides, they will get rewarded in multiple ways, including butterflies in your garden. One would always find five to ten butterflies flocking around in a pest-free garden during the summertime. 

how to attract butterflies to your balcony in india

Not all caterpillars reach the larva stage because many of them are eaten by birds. Nature has its way of selecting and discarding too. If you are very particular about saving a caterpillar and helping it reach the butterfly stage, you can try putting it in a transparent jar or box.

If you keep your Garden / Balcony or Terrace free from harsh chemicals and pesticides, you will get rewarded in multiple ways, one of which is the presence of butterflies in your garden.

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Chetna Bhalla

Chetna Bhalla, founder of GetMyHarvest.com. She believes that by sharing knowledge and ideas, one can make this world a better place. Chetna is also a founder at MyTechMantra.com, a favorite website in the Tech world. She believes that it is the need of the times to connect with nature. She is very passionate about the idea of living close to nature. Chetna co-founded this website along with her husband Ashish and son Vihaan during the COVID-19 Pandemic to inculcate a love for life and to provide ideas to engage kids productively. She wants to create a brigade of green ambassadors who are future-ready and understand the importance of cooking from fresh produce. Please connect with her via comments on the website.

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