Butterflies and hummingbirds are a pleasure to watch and you can draw them right to your own back yard with a butterfly garden. Both are attracted by the same things. It wouldn’t be hard at all to dedicate an area in your garden or yard for a small butterfly garden. There are certain things you can do to help attract these lovely creatures to your backyard garden.
The design your butterfly garden is a matter of personal preference. It will involve some planning ahead. You should find out what type of butterfly is common to your area because some butterflies have different preferences. The lifespan of a butterfly ranges from a week to a year depending on the species. In the larvae stage some damage can occur to crops or trees but the larvae also eat harmful insects and help to pollinate plants.
Butterflies and hummingbirds feed primarily on the nectar from a variety flowers. They also get nourishment from pollen, tree sap, rotting fruit, droppings from other animals and minerals found in wet sand or dirt. Butterflies are important for pollinating some species of plants and they do not usually carry as much pollen as bees, but they can carry the pollen much further than bees.
When planning your butterfly garden there are certain elements that you must include to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
1. Plant sun loving flowers in your garden
2. Choose flowers that have an abundance of sweet nectar in a variety of attractive colors. Butterflies are attracted to flowers that provide nectar not pollen, like lilacs, honeysuckle and daisies.
3. A birdbath, a large garden water fountain or some other type of water feature is a must and you may want to consider adding more than one type of water supply.
4. Plant a variety of host plants for the caterpillars
5. Plant flowers that attract the species native to your area
6. You don’t see many butterflies on a cloudy day because the butterfly is a cold blooded insect and cannot regulate its body temperature. Your garden should get at least 6 hours of sun everyday with plants that allow the butterflies to bask in the sun.
7. Butterflies do not seem to use them much so they are more for decorative purposes but, a butterfly house could provide extra shelter
8. It is common for male butterflies to gather at small puddles sipping nutrients that are important for the mating process. These small puddles are easy to recreate by keeping buckets filled with sand and water in different areas around the garden. Make your puddles more attractive by using decorative pots then adding some beer or sweet liquid.
9. Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to many of the same things and a hummingbird feeder will supply them both with an abundance of nectar. The hummingbird feeder is designed to attract these beautiful creatures and the design helps keep bees and other unwanted critters out of the nectar.
10. Butterflies, in particular, will need a wind barrier of some sort. This could be a hedge, fence or row of trees anything to block the wind.
It is easy to make your own solution for the feeder with water, sugar and food coloring. Mixing the sugar with warm water helps to melt it, just make sure to let the liquid cool before filling your feeder. The solution is simply 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.
These critters are very particular about the color as well as the taste. The liquid should be a medium shade of red, not too dark. For some reason if it is too dark the butterflies and hummingbirds do not seem to be attracted to it.