Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Hi All, I was out and about this morning and I had so many butterflys floating around I was in awe. So I thought I would post this information on drawing butterflys to the garden.
I collect tons of information and this is some pretty good info and simple..
Butterflies are drawn to water, but only if they can wade and flit in just the shallowest of shallows. (Ever notice gatherings of butterflies on the puddles along a creek or stream?) They are also are drawn to a particular nutrient found in soils. Here's how to provide butterflies a butterfly spa that they love so that they flock to your garden, deck, or balcony:
Make a Butterfly Landing Pad
1. Recycle an old Frisbee. Add marbles to the bottom for weight and landing pads (or a flat stone, a brick, or something organic and heavy that you have handy).
2. Sink a broken cup into the ground or into a large pot of plants on your deck or balcony. Cut up a sponge to fit into the cup or stuff in a well-rinsed net shower scrubber. Keep the cup filled with water.
3. Fill an old pizza or jelly roll pan with water to provide a shallow puddle on a sunny day. Line the pan with a cotton tea towel or paper towels.
Make it "For Butterflies Only"
Another way to attract butterflies is to make a small butterfly spa using a large plate, an old baking dish, or a shallow ceramic bowl. Sink the dish into the ground (preferably in a flowerbed, which is attractive as well as convenient-no mowing around it) and fill it with sand, which has absorbed or contains the salts and nutrients butterflies love. Or just toss a shovelful of dirt into the container. Wet the sand or dirt thoroughly and make sure it stays constantly damp.
Make a Butterfly Buffet
A platform feeder meant for birds works nicely for giving butterflies a buffet of bananas, watermelon, or apples. Change the fruit every day or two to keep the display presentable, although the butterflies won't mind and would probably prefer rotting material. Swallowtails, painted ladies, and fritillaries are the most likely to visit a fruit station such as this.
Butterflies play a vital role in our natural ecosystem by pollinating plants. Here's how to keep your garden alive with these delicate creatures all summer long.
1. Pick your spot
To turn your garden into desirable real estate for these lovely creatures, you'll need to provide their favorite features:
Full sun for at least half the day Butterflies are cold-blooded, so they need to bask in the sun to generate enough heat to fly. Add some flat rocks where they can perch.
Protection from the wind A thicket of bushes and tall plants keeps butterflies safe from wind, bad weather, and predators.
Moisture Butterflies will often gather in large numbers at the edge of sand or mud puddles to drink and absorb mineral salts.
2. Select nectar plants To attract butterflies to your garden, add nectar plants for them to feed on. Single plants won't do; you'll need big clumps of them. Some of our favorites are asters, butterfly bush, butterfly weed, marigolds, purple coneflowers, and zinnias. Include early- and late-blooming varieties, so the butterflies will have a supply of food throughout the growing season.
3. Add host plants Butterflies lay eggs on everything from passionflower vines to parsley and poplar trees, all of which will provide food for caterpillars when they hatch.