We all know a butterfly's growth cycle: It starts off as a wee caterpillar, then forms a chrysalis tucked away in its cocoon before blossoming into a beautiful butterfly. We rarely get to see them in our own backyards, though. Luckily, you can build your backyard to be a butterfly haven yourself!
Their eating habits are relatively simple. They feed on nectar, need a little bit of water and like having a place to rest between flights. If you live in an area that butterflies are native to, you'll be able to draw them to your backyard with the right setup.
Give them something to eat
Silly as this may sound, butterflies are attracted to things they can eat (much like the rest of us). Monarch butterflies typically eat Milk Weed, but they also gravitate toward plants in red, yellow, pink and orange. To create the ultimate butterfly haven, it's important to incorporate these plants into your landscaping. Good options include:
- Butterflies weeds
Fun fact: Butterflies see in the ultraviolet range, meaning many of these flowers appear an entirely different color to them.
Stick to native plants
Butterflies that inhabit your region evolved with the plants that were here while they were. In this day and age, it's possible to incorporate plants from across the country, so long as they'll grow in your climate. To attract beautiful butterflies, however, it's important to keep as many native plants around as you can.
Stay in the sun
Butterflies love sunlight, so make sure a variety of your plants (and your backyard in general) are in full sun. If they're near the shade of a few trees, that's OK.
Give them a place to sit
Even butterflies need a break, and they like to bask in the sun. In your garden, add a few flat rocks or an expanse of flat, smooth surfaces for them to perch on. (Better yet, if you position your outdoor sofa nearby, you'll have a great view.)
Another fun fact: Butterflies' noses are actually in their feet. Who knew?
Offer a little water
Much like birds, butterflies need water to cool down. That's what they make butterfly baths for – they're essentially bird baths with a little sand mixed in. The critters will soak up important nutrients this way, which is called puddling. These butterfly baths are easy to make, too – simply fill a shallow bowl with water and sand. The sand should be totally saturated.