How to Attract Butterflies to Your Lawn & Garden
No lawn & garden is complete or as healthy without butterflies. Not only can these beautiful pollinators help your blooming plants flourish, they’ll upgrade your yard into an overall more vibrant and biodiverse space. Here’s how to invite more butterflies into your lawn, along with the awesome perks that come with them.
OFFER PLENTY OF SUNLIGHT
Butterflies love sunlight and lots of it. And they have a good reason: without it, they’d become too cold to function and eventually die. It’s simple, unless you offer access to plenty of sunlight, you’ll never get a lawn full of these striking pollinators.
Adult butterflies almost only feed in direct sunlight, which means you’ll need to position your nectar plants carefully. Aim for a spot that receives full sunlight from morning to mid afternoon all spring and into the fall, not just during the summer.
PROVIDE WIND PROTECTION
Windy spaces are not welcoming to butterflies and their delicate wings. If your lawn and garden don’t provide an escape from daily gusts, butterflies are likely to skip over your space in search of friendlier feeding conditions.
Don’t fret, creating a little wind protection isn’t stressful and it won’t take very long at all. Simply plant or reposition your nectar offerings along a fence, a small line of trees, large shrubbery, or up against your home. Apart from flowers, a sunny basking spot shielded from the wind is arguably the most effective butterfly attractant.
SUPPLY THE RIGHT KIND OF FLOWERS
Many gardeners plant dozens of visually appealing, aromatic flowers in hopes of attracting butterflies only to never see a single swallowtail or monarch. You know why? They choose the wrong types of flowers.
The key to enticing your state's most fruitful and eye-catching butterflies all comes down to planting native flowers. Your local butterflies evolved to feed and seek out, not just any plants, but specifically the plants indigenous to your area—and those are the type of flowers you need growing in your garden. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a big help in this department; click here for a list of their native plant recommendations by region.
When selecting native flowers, make sure to consider a variety of sizes, colors, and types to accommodate a wide array of butterflies both small and large. Ideally, you’ll want to include a selection of plant life that offers blooms throughout the entire butterfly season, all spring through early fall.
GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO DRINK
Butterflies get a bulk of their moisture and nutrients from small watering holes called puddling sites. These mineral rich puddles are vital to any thriving butterfly population, which means you should really have one in your garden.
Thankfully, making a puddling site is super easy. Just sink a shallow dish or pan flush with the ground, fill it with coarse sand, and wet it daily or less as needed.
REPOSITION BIRD BATHS & FEEDERS
It’s sometimes easy to forget that butterflies and birds aren’t exactly the best of friends. When we attract the latter to our lawn via baths and feeders, we’re also inadvertently repelling our beneficial butterfly friends.
When removal is out of the question, moving these bird-attracting features farther away from your garden is still helpful. But just remember: the more birds in your lawn, the fewer butterflies you’re going to enjoy.
SAY NO TO POISONOUS PESTICIDES
Old school, chemical-based insecticides threaten not only the health of our families and pets, but also beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies. It’s a no-brainer—if you stick with toxic pesticides, you’re not going to have many butterflies gracing your garden.
Technology’s come a long way and now we have safer, smarter approaches for protecting our gardens from pest damage. Here are 5 butterfly-friendly pest control tips to get you started. To learn more, read “The Most Destructive Garden Pests & How to Get Rid of them Naturally.”