DIY Network

How to Attract Butterflies

It is easy to attract butterflies to the garden given the right mix of flowering plants, water and sunshine.

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attract butterflies to the garden
  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Select the Site

Pick a sunny but sheltered spot for the butterfly garden. Butterflies are cold-blooded creatures that need to absorb the warmth of the sun. But too much strong wind makes it difficult for them to fly.

Step 2: Provide Nectar

Once caterpillars pupate and become butterflies, they need nectar sources on which to feed. Consider planting annuals like marigolds, zinnias and lantanas (Image 1). Or perennials such as purple coneflower (Image 2), bee balm and black-eyed Susan (Image 3). Or shrubs such as azaleas, lilac and butterfly bush.

Step 3: Provide Water Source

Butterflies can't drink from open water like birds and other animals. They get moisture from landing in wet mud or sand, where they also take in nutrients. Fill a birdbath three-quarters full with builder's sand. Add mushroom compost to provide the necessary nutrients. Stir to combine. Add just enough water to make a puddle.

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