Creating a Butterfly Garden
By Sabrina Essery, Freelance Writer
Humans have never been as enamoured with any insect as we are with the butterfly. It’s hardly
surprising, considering the vast array of beautiful colours and patterns you can find in their wings. It’s
easy to see why anyone would want these stunning creatures to flock to their home – however, creating
and cultivating a butterfly garden is no easy task. Butterfly gardens can be very high maintenance and
require plenty of pre-planning to be effective at attracting butterflies.
If you’re considering making your garden a haven for butterflies, here’s a quick list of points
you’ll have to consider before shopping for flowers:
• Do Your Research: Cultivating a butterfly garden isn’t as simple as “if you plant it, they will
come”. You need to do your research to find out exactly which butterflies are native to your
area, and what kind of plants they need. The type of plant that caterpillars require is not the
same type of plant butterflies require. It also depends on the species of butterfly you’re hoping
to attract, your location, and the time of year.
• Make Sure You Have the Room.: For butterfly gardening, it’s advised that you plant big
clumps or bushes of similarly-coloured flowers. This is because bigger explosions of colour will
draw a butterfly’s attention far more easily than a few different blooms scattered randomly
throughout your garden. Most instructional articles on butterfly gardening will suggest you
plant clumps or bushes between two and a half to four feet on either side.
• Look at your Sunlight: Butterflies (and the plants that attract them) thrive in sunlight. If you’re
planting a butterfly garden, you’ll want to plant it in a spot that gets as much sun as possible.
• Keep Far Away from the Pesticides: Butterflies are extremely sensitive to toxins. This means
that pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are all no-no’s. The only pesticides you can use in a
butterfly garden are natural, organic ones that pose no threat to your winged guests.
• Think About a Water Source: Butterflies are a little different when it comes to providing a
source of water. While a shallow container of water will suffice in a pinch, the ideal drink for a
butterfly includes mineral and nutrients. This can be a wet patch on the ground, a relatively
clean puddle, or a shallow dish of water with sand on the bottom. Granted, this may not be a
huge deterrent for those who are considering a butterfly garden – but if you have mosquitoes in
your area, you will have to take extra steps to make sure that they don’t lay their eggs in your
• Offer Shelter: The actual usefulness of “Butterfly Houses” is hotly debated. However, they do
offer butterflies a space to use to get out of windy or violent weather. If you’re skeptical, try to
offer some sort of shelter for wayward butterflies to use, whether it’s an especially dense plant
covering or a strategically-placed garden décor.