Butterfly Gardens

Posted by on Mon, May 20 2013 23:44:00


So my new back yard is a blank canvas, right next to a small creek with beautiful tall grass and some wonderful plants. There are tons of butterflies, so it got me thinking... Butterfly garden maybe??

Here is my version of a how to: thanks to

Research first. Find out which butterflies are common in your area. Observation over a few days and the use of a butterfly field guide will help you in this.

Choose "Host Plants" for your garden. Note from your research what the caterpillar (larvae) of the local butterflies eat. Then choose "food" plants. Nectar based ones are best to attract the female butterflies who will lay their eggs.

Plan garden on paper. Draw up a plan, or decide where to add to a current garden. Keep in mind the full grown size of plants during this planning stage. Also consider their needs for light and water.

Purchase plants or seeds from garden center. You can also get these plants and seeds online. Choose robust and healthy plants to give them a good start.

Plant your butterfly garden. Make sure to keep new plants and seeds watered until plants are well-established or seeds germinate. Keep the weeds at bay, to give the plants a good chance.

Observe and enjoy the butterfly activity in your garden. Watch for female butterflies laying eggs on host plants. Make notes in a record book of the butterflies that you observe and, if you can, take photographs to add to your record book. A digital record book can be a useful and simple way to do this and can be added to over the years. Observed changes in the types and numbers of butterflies coming into your garden can be information shared with biologists, ecologists and climate change specialists who use local variation information to ascertain species increase or decline, as well as temperature fluctuations and change.



Butterflies are relatively weak fliers. Don’t put your garden in a windy, exposed position. If your whole yard is windy, plant some shrubs or large, dense perennials on the windward side of your butterfly patch, so that the butterflies can feed in peace on the flowers.

More info and plant lists available at: