By Sarah Coulber
Watching Butterflies flitting about and landing on flowers is rewarding for children and adults alike. Encourage them to your garden with these tips:
- Have a variety of plants that, together, will bloom from spring through to fall for adult butterflies.
- Choose plants that still produce nectar, unlike some cultivated Roses and Geraniums, for example.
- Include an assortment of plant types including those for their caterpillar stage.
Butterflies are particular about where to lay their eggs and may travel far to find them. Some need trees but for weedier species like Thistles, cut off flower heads before they go to seed if you are concerned about them getting out of hand. For plants like Nettles that spread via roots, pull up those that grow beyond your designated area and either harvest or compost them.
- Grow plants in sunny spots sheltered from strong winds.
- Allow a corner of your garden to include leaf litter, logs or brush for hibernating butterflies.
- Avoid pesticides so these delicate animals aren’t negatively affected.
- Provide some exposed earth/soil/compost around your butterfly plants that, when wet, will create a mudpuddling spot for some species of butterflies such as Canadian Tiger Swallowtails.
Download a copy of CWF's Gardening for Butterflies handout with more tips for creating a successful butterfly garden