Butterflies

Hints for Attracting Butterflies

Water

  • Fill a shallow dish with sand approx. 1″ from the top, add pebbles for the butterflies to land on, then add water.
  • Do not use a sprinkler to water butterfly plants as this can dilute or wash nectar away completely.
  • Puddling: Butterflies feed at puddle margins or moistareas seeking salts or amino acids.

Basking

  • Butterflies need to soak up warmth to become active. Place decorative rocks or logs in flower beds to provide a place to sit and spread their wings.

Life Cycle

  • Be careful not to destroy the other life stages of the butterfly (egg, larva, or pupa). Do not use pesticides on butterfly plants.

Hibernation

  • Some species of butterflies hibernate as adults through the winter. They use cracks in logs, tree bark, fence posts, etc. as hibernating sites. Others over winter in the egg, larva, or pupa stage.

Plantings

  • Plan your butterfly garden to provide blooming plants throughout the season.
  • Use large splashes of color, Colors butterflies are most attracted to are purple, white, yellow, pinks, with true blues next and red.
  • Leave or add some large and small trees for perching. Evergreen trees and shrubs provide protection from storms. Some examples of evergreens are Silktassle, Wax Myrtle, Yaupon Holly, Cenizo, Evergreen Sumac. Mountain Laurel, Arizona Cypress, Live Oak, Cedar, native grasses, etc.
  • Native grasses are a larval food primarily for Skippers. These grasses also provide cover during cold nights and from rainstorms, also provide seeds for birds.
  • Some butterflies prefer rotten fruit. Provide native plants that drop fruit such as grapes, dewberries, Mexican Plum, Texas Persimmon, and Blanco Crabapples. Also a food source for birds.
  • To increase your butterfly population be sure to provide plants for the caterpillars to munch. You can mix these plants in with your nectar plants, grow them in containers, or provide a special place to plant them. Remember without caterpillars there would be no butterflies.
  • Create an edge: Low flowers at edge of lawns. High flowers at edge of trees or along a fence.