Create a butterfly friendly garden

You can create a butterfly friendly spot in almost any garden with just a few containers. Butterflies have excellent eyesight and are attracted to bright, vibrant colours. All you need are a few pretty single flowered perennials & / or annuals in purple, yellow, orange, red or pink. They are also attracted to fragrances which they smell with their antennae and taste with their feet.

What you need:

  • Approximately 5 containers for your flowers
  • Peat free potting compost
  • Crocks of clay or pieces of styrofoam
  • Gravel
  • Bucket of water
  • Assorted plants

Choosing plants for butterflies

Most of the more popular flowering plants will attract butterflies but it is not just a bright colour a plant must have to be attractive to butterflies. They also need to be sources of nectar. These plants are all especially suitable:

  • Dahlia
  • Scabious
  • Verbena
  • Joe Pye weed
  • Black eyed Susan
  • Buddlia
  • Thistles

As well as plant for your butterflies to feed on you will need plants for them to lay their eggs on – and some species are very very picky about where they leave their young. Luckily lots of species like milkweeds, thistles & nettles and you can leave these to grow in a ‘wild patch’ in your garden, out of sight if you like. Don’t worry the butterflies will find them just fine.

How to plant your garden:

  1. Take your plants out of the pots you bought them in and plunge them into your bucket of water until all of the bubbles stop.
  2. Get your containers ready by covering up the holes on the bottom with crocks or styrofoam
  3. Cover the crocks up with a layer of gravel – about 5 cm – this will make sure the pots can drain properly.
  4. Then three quarter fill the pots with potting compost.
  5. Place your plants in the container and fill in all around the root balls with extra compost, making sure there are no gaps.
  6. Arrange your pots in a sunny position with the tallest plants at the back.
  7. Make sure to water your butterfly garden and make notes of your visitors!