Have you ever wanted to have a backyard swarming with butterflies? Perhaps build your own little butterfly garden? Well the best way to attract these beautiful insects is by creating a space that meets their needs. Follow our steps to build a yard primed for butterflies and before you know it you’ll have plenty of fluttering bugs taking over.
Step 1. Knowledge is power. Knowing what types of butterflies are local and what they prefer to eat and feed their larvae is an important first step to building a butterfly garden. Butterflies themselves aren’t overly picky and are attracted to flowering plants with ample nectar, such as daisies or goldenrods. The list of butterflies in this area is long. The monarch, however, is a popular one and they prefer milkweed. The Western Pigmy Blue, a particularly small species, prefers pickleweed. Butterflies also need water. A small pot filled with sand and kept moist should do the trick.
Step 2. Let the caterpillars feed. To grow your butterfly population, you’ll need to care for the caterpillars, too. Don’t panic over caterpillars munching on plants and be sure to plant what they like to eat. This will encourage a bigger butterfly population in the months to come.
Step 3. Make it a neighborhood effort. Get friendly neighbors in on the fun. Fence lines don’t mean much to bugs, so to get the most butterflies out of this experience, it can help to share your knowledge with neighbors—and your concerns.
Step 4. Buck harmful pesticides. While we don’t want our backyards to become overrun with harmful bugs, you may need to find a more natural way to keep pests at bay while trying to attract butterflies.
Step 5. Protect the butterflies. A garden overrun with potential hazards may keep butterflies from calling your yard home. If you’re also trying to attract birds, for example, those winged creatures might eat up the other ones. Weather is the other big issue for butterflies, which can be delicate. Create spaces to shelter them when needed.
This Month in Your Garden
- Prepare summer plants for winter and remove any debris in your yard that could be problematic come fire season including old, dry plants.
- Prepare your garden with new soil and any other upkeep that needs to be done in order to support incoming fall/winter plants.
- Treat insect infestations and keep plants moist by spritzing them often.
- Plant carrots. Colorful hues are trending when it comes to these root vegetables, and August is a good time to start prepping them.
- To keep your garden colorful, plant late-summer florals such that flourish in a dry heat such as bearded irises.