How to - Wildlife

10 ways to attract butterflies to your yard


Provide a welcoming environment in the garden for these colourful insects and their young

Out of all the insects that choose to take up residence in the garden, butterflies are probably the most welcome. Not only are they beautiful to watch, flitting throughout the yard, they’re a reflection of a healthy garden, one that is enticing to other essential pollinators like bees. If you’d like to encourage more butterflies to visit your yard, here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Give butterflies a place to bask in the sun
Butterflies like warmth, so place your nectar plants in a sunny location that gets about five to six hours of rays per day. Flat stones that store the warmth are also favoured resting spots on bright days. 

2. Choose plants that will flower all summer long
Plant flowers that will give butterflies a continuous supply of nectar throughout the summer months. That means choosing both early and late bloomers. Deadheading will also encourage certain plants to continue flowering.

For spring. plant pansies, primrose, sweet William and willows.

For summer and autumn blooms, plant buddleia (also called butterfly bush), purple coneflower, chives, chrysanthemums, coreopsis, honeysuckle, lavender, lilacs, mint, phlox and thyme.

3. Avoid pesticides
If you’re trying to eradicate bad bugs, insecticides will also harm the good ones. Avoid using chemical bug killers in the garden.

4. Plant native species
Different types of butterflies will be partial to different plants. However, it’s best to plant species that are native to your area, plants that butterflies have been feasting on long before you had your garden.

5. Host the caterpillars AND the butterflies
Butterflies use two different types of plants—those that provide nectar for the adults to eat (nectar plant), and those that provide food for their offspring (host plant). 

For example, Monarch caterpillars like milkweed, while the butterflies enjoy the nectar from dogbane and buddleia.


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