Milkweed is a great, natural butterfly feeder, and so are nectar feeders. The sugar water recipe is the same as hummingbirds’ but butterflies will not use these feeders. Nectar feeders may be open, or have a sponge in them to absorb the liquid. A small dish works well, set on a porch rail, or hung from a shepherd’s hook or branch. Over-ripened fruit is adored by butterflies too, just be sure it does not mold.
Sadly, natural butterfly habitats are being decimated by the elimination of weeds and native grasses from yards, and chemical pesticides. Create a butterfly habitat in your garden with these simple tips:
Water: Butterflies will not drink from an open water source. They consume liquids by puddling, getting moisture from wet sand or soil, or shallow puddles. A leaf mister is a wonderful accessory to attract butterflies as the puddling process is constant.
Shelter: Mature, woody plants near your nectar producing flowers will provide butterflies with shelter during bad weather and at night. You may also want to consider a butterfly house.
Host plants: The host plants are ones that provide a site for butterflies to lay eggs and a food source for the emerging caterpillar. You may need to keep heavy mulch on these plants. Some host plants include: Thistle, Milkweed, Wild Cherry, Grasses, Nettle, Violet, Poplar, and Willow.
Food Sources for Nectar: Include Shrubs and annual flowers like; Azaleas, Lilac, Viburnums, Privets, Impatients, Marigolds, Alyssum, Cosmos, Verbena and Zinnias. Perennials include: Bee Balm, Butterfly Weed, Phlox, Seedum, Goldenrod, Coneflower, Thistle and more.
Start creating your butterfly-friendly habitat this spring and enjoy these flying flowers’ who will grace your yard!
According to the Butterfly School, yes! And they even have simple, detailed directions to make your own butterfly houses. There’s tons of great information on the site pertaining to all things butterflies and moths. Copy and paste this address to check it out: http://www.butterflyschool.org
One great way to attract butterflies to your houses is to add their nectar inside. Using a small dish, with a new sponge or pot scrubber to absorb the liquid, place it in the bottom of the house. This acts as a fantastic attractant for these flying flowers! And…the nectar is a simple solution of sugar and water. The same mixture used for hummingbirds. One part sugar to four parts water. Never use any substitutes for the sugar, plain, table sugar is best.
Here’s to spring and the butterflies!
Time-lapse close up of Monarch caterpillar pupating and later the butterfly braking out of its chrysalis. Notice how the wings expand as the belly fluids are pumped into them. Save a Monarch, grow a Milkweed! Add a butterfly house for shelter from weather and predators too.