I could spend hours watching butterflies in my gardens. I find them fascinating.
Butterflies are nature’s beautiful garden dancers. Attracting these dancing pixies to your yard requires a bit of butterfly know-how and garden planning.
It doesn’t take much to lure butterflies to come and dance in your gardens.
Nectar rich flowers, a place to rest, and areas for drinking will result in a wide variety of butterflies, flittering and fluttering around your yard.
Butterflies and kids share the same affinity for mud puddles. It’s a fact. Butterflies like mud. After a rainy day you will find butterflies gathered at the edges of mud puddles taking in moisture, rich in salts and minerals. This ritual is known as puddling. If you place shallow basins or saucers of mud in your gardens, you will create the right stage for butterflies to appear and hang out.
Butterflies like sunshine. They are cold-blooded creatures so having a sunny place to rest, feed, and warm is essential for their well-being. Flat rocks, lawn furniture, and even your BBQ become warming stages for cool butterflies.
“Butterflies landing on a flower could be compared to landing a Boing 474 on a very short runaway”!
Bearing in mind butterflies have big wings and short legs, the size and shape of a flower bloom becomes very important to being able to ‘stick the landing’. It stands to reason smaller butterflies can land on more delicate blooms, while larger butterflies need bigger, more robust blooms to hit their mark. Having a selection of flower bloom sizes in your garden will attract a wider variety of butterflies. Flat-top flowers are the perfect shape for butterflies as they make great landing pads, while tubular-shaped flowers are perfect to grab and hold on.
If we take the above flower characteristics, add in a mix of bright colours; oranges, reds, yellows, hot pinks and deep purples, we’ve set the perfect stage for butterflies to come and dance in your gardens.
Set the perfect stage
I’ve put together a few pictures of perennial plants ideal for Ontario gardens and wonderful for attracting butterflies.
Nothing can scare butterflies away faster than using chemical sprays. Make sure to minimize the use of pesticides and insecticides in your gardens, if you want to attract butterflies.
Enjoy your butterflies.
The Gabby Gardener
Updated April 2022