Attracting Butterflies To Your Garden
Butterflies are a welcome addition to any garden. There are 59 species resident in Britain, and a few more that come over on holiday. You will not find all the species in garden habitats, some species like particular environments such as coppiced woodland, but there are plenty of species that would happily visit your garden.
Red Admiral, Comma, Small/Large Cabbage White, Peacock and Painted Lady are some of the most likely species that you can easily attract to your garden. If you want help with attracting butterflies to your garden, have a look at our tips below to make your garden a butterfly hotspot!
Look After Caterpillars
Thanks to a certain hungry caterpillar, we all know that butterflies start off life as caterpillars, therefore it is important to provide caterpillars with a home. The best way to do this is by growing host plants such as cabbages, holly and ivy, grasses, thistles, stinging nettles and buckthorn.
Butterflies like bright colours! Keeping your garden bright and blooming not only looks good, but is the best start to attracting butterflies. Provide colour from spring to late autumn to keep butterflies around for as long as possible.
Choose Tasty Plants
Adult butterflies feed on nectar, so choose some nice garden flowers and plant them in sunny sheltered spots to really please the visiting butterflies. Plants such as lavender, sweet rocket, ivy, butterfly blue, red valerian, pansies and sage are just some varieties to try.
Keep Butterflies Warm
Butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature falls to below 30°C so they are partial to a bit of sunbathing. Place flat rocks or plant large flat headed flowers (such as sunflowers) in sunny spots in your garden to provide a nice relaxing place for butterflies to recharge their batteries and soak up some sun.
Provide a Puddling Spot
Butterflies like to go ‘puddling’. Along with nectar, they need salts and minerals and they usually get these from muddy puddles. Provide a place for them to do this, with a shallow tub filled with sand and some water in a nice sunny spot.
Leave Tasty Fruit
If you have any fruit trees in your garden, don’t be too hasty clearing away any fallen over-ripe fruit. Leave any fallen fruit on the ground as certain species of butterfly enjoy feeding on the juice. Also, if you have any over ripe bananas that you are going to throw away, butterflies will appreciate them! Mush them up in your hand, leaving the skin on, then slice the skin in a few places and pop it in a sunny spot.
Once you have your garden all set up, all that’s left to do is to sit back and relax, keeping an eye out for any visitors that are enjoying your efforts.