Like every living creature, butterflies need food, shelter and water. With a little planning, you can create a wildlife garden habitat that attracts, feeds and harbors a wide variety of butterflies.
Providing food sources
Incorporate plants in your garden that cater to their year-round needs at all stages of their lifecycle. Adult butterflies feed primarily on nectar while caterpillars feed on leaves, some flowers and seeds.
Adult butterflies are attracted by fragrance and color, especially purple, orange, red and yellow flowers. They can see flowers planted groups easier than single flowers.
Butterflies also need a place to lay eggs and pupate. When laying their eggs, many species have evolved to use only one type of plant. The best known example is the Monarch butterfly. It will only lay its eggs on milkweeds, which then serve as a food source for their caterpillars.
A butterfly garden should be in a sunny, sheltered location, near a windbreak such as a vine-covered trellis, a fence or hedge. Hedges provide safe places for butterflies to roost at night.
A muddle provides a water source and a perfect sun-basking spot for butterflies. To create a muddle, simply fill a terra cotta saucer or any shallow dish with sand and just enough water to get the sand moist. Then place two or three dark-colored rocks in the sand so butterflies have a place to land and sun themselves.
Garden Tip is courtesy of The Growing Place, 630-355-4000.Tags: Gardening