Butterflies don’t just show up without an invitation. Put out the welcome mat with these five ideas.
Discover Flower Power
Plant in drifts. Butterflies are more likely to notice large swaths of color, like these yellow yarrow and rudbeckia. Also, go for bright colors. Red flowers attract more butterflies than white flowers.
Include Host Plants
Plants such as fennel (shown), dill, and parsley are popular food sources for caterpillars that will later turn into butterflies. If you’re worried about nibbled foliage, hide the plants in an inconspicuous spot.
Supply Nectar Plants
The flowers of these plants are a food source for butterflies. Examples include butterfly bush (shown) and daylily. Plant flowers with different but overlapping bloom times, such as bachelor’s buttons and coneflowers.
Make Them Comfortable
Flowers aren’t the only thing butterflies like. They’ll also appreciate a sun-baked surface to warm their wings in the morning and a shallow saucer of water with a sandy bottom where they can drink any time of day.
Keep Them Safe
Limit the use of pesticides and apply only on calm days. Also consider planting a windbreak, such as the trees and evergreens shown here, to calm the air for safe landings.
Once you’ve got your butterfly garden ready, look for these stages of butterfly metamorphosis and these beautiful butterflies to emerge.
Eggs come in many shapes and colors and are usually laid on leaves, providing a food source for the tiny caterpillars that emerge.
The larval stage lasts up to a month, during which time the caterpillar continues to eat, grow, and molt (shed its outer skin).
Once mature, the caterpillar hangs from a support, then molts a final time to produce a chrysalis.
Eventually, a beautiful butterfly emerges from the chrysalis. In a few days, it is ready to mate. Most butterflies live for only a few weeks.
One of the most widespread butterflies, it features orange wings “painted” black and white at the tips.
These dramatic-looking butterflies with large black and iridescent blue wings are poisonous to predators.
One of the longer-lived species, the black swallowtail can reach a wingspan of more than four inches. Like the pipevine swallowtail, it’s poisonous to predators.
A common species with black-edged yellow wings, the clouded sulphur is found throughout much of North America hovering low in meadows, fields, and other open spaces.
Perhaps the most well-known butterfly of all, the monarch features an easily recognizable orange-and-black wing pattern. It’s famous for its late-season migration south.
Found throughout the South, these zebra-striped butterflies can be seen in woodlands and along forest edges.