I love butterflies and I know I’m not the only one! I think they are one of God’s most beautiful and fascinating creatures. I could watch them for hours (if I had the time, of course). So I was disheartened when I learned monarch butterflies may be on their way to the endangered species list.
They currently face a myriad of threats along their migration route including climate change, habitat loss and pesticide use. Because of this the monarch butterfly population has been drastically reduced. Can you imagine a world without butterflies?! That thought makes me so sad!
My parents have butterfly gardens in their backyard and I always watch them landing on the bushes, drinking the nectar, their wings fluttering in the wind. It’s a beautiful sight to see and my kids enjoy watching as well.
Since Earth Day is approaching I decided now is the perfect time to create our own backyard butterfly garden. There are a few simple steps you want to follow to ensure you can attract these beautiful butterflies. It is essential for you to create an oasis that will encompass their entire lifespan (they live four to five weeks).
Butterflies love the sun so make sure to pick a sun-drenched spot! However, they won’t hang around if it’s too windy so choosing a location protected from the wind such as against a fence or near some trees is perfect!
2. Mix it Up
You’ll want to choose a variety of plants that do well in sunlight. Annuals are great because they will bloom continuously throughout the season, creating an endless supply of nectar for butterflies! Color and shape are also important as butterflies are attracted to bright blooms. Make sure to research which plants are native to your geographic area.
3. Restful Retreat
While butterflies like to warm their wings in the sun, they also need a place to rest. Putting stones or large rocks in your garden provide a great spot to rest.
4. Say No to Chemicals
I know it’s tempting to help your plants grow faster by spraying them with insecticides, but these chemicals are highly toxic to butterflies. Don’t use insecticides in or near your butterfly garden.
5. Watering Hole
Butterflies like to puddle. This means they like to land on wet sand or mud and drink the water and minerals from the wet ground. Placing a bit of sand in your garden could help attract more of these beautiful creatures and entice them to stay!
Have fun planting your butterfly garden with your children and don’t forget to snap some photos when the butterflies finally make their home in your yard!