Do you want to be welcomed by a swarm of butterflies every morning? Plan a garden with the host plants to invite these flapping wings.
When you build your butterfly garden, host plants are necessary to provide a place for the butterfly to lay eggs and food for the emerging caterpillar. Host plants range from flowering plants such as Milkweed and Passion Vine, to herbs such as Fennel, to bushes, and trees such as Sweet Bay Magnolia. You can attract a wider selection of butterflies by including both host plants and nectar plants in your garden while providing an environment that supports their entire life cycle.
A butterfly garden must be free of nets, chemicals and pesticides. If you keep the butterflies out of the net, they won't come back because they can't reach the nectar. They are also kept away by chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Hence, butterfly gardens must only use organic pesticides. Use native plants as well, because they do not require chemical aid.
Butterflies get attracted to red, yellow, pink and purple flowers. Plants specialised in these colours attract different species of butterflies. Big flowers too grab the attention of butterflies because they can easily perch on them. On flowers, there are certain marks that are like beacons. They are called ‘nectar guides’, telling the insects that these plants have food.
“Until breeding can begin, each butterfly species needs to have two separate plant species available: one for its flowers, and another for its leaves. Mid-June has been marked as the beginning of the active butterfly season in the last two-three years,” says naturalist and author, R Bhanumathi. When fresh shoots come out, the dormancy stage ends and butterflies are assured that there are enough tender leaves for larvae to feast on, she adds.
Butterfly gardens thus deliver the benefits of nature-designed relations between plants and animals. Even in urban, developed neighborhoods butterfly gardens provide habitat which increases the diversity of butterflies. In this way, you can create a paradise for butterflies in your own backyard with a beautiful butterfly garden.