December 16, 2018

Butterfly Gardens : Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden

Butterfly GardenThe Keys to Attracting Butterflies to your yard are pretty much the same rules as for attracting Hummingbirds.  Provide food, flowers, and misters (water) for them to fly through. Hummingbirds are extremely loyal to feeding sites.  A hummingbird that feeds in your yard one year will return to that feeder the next.  If you aren’t attracting as many butterflies, or hummers as you would like to, read on…

There is nothing more relaxing than sitting in a chair or swing on your patio, deck, or porch and watching butterflies make a graceful trip around your yard.  Even in today’s hectic times, all “seems at peace and right with the world”, as a butterfly pauses to sip some nectar or relax on a warm rock.

Without a doubt, the number one thing you have to do if you want to attract butterflies is quit using chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides in your butterfly garden.

In the United States, you can find over 16 kinds of Hummingbirds.  For people east of the Rockies, the most prevalent by far is the Roby-Throated Hummingbird.  In fact, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is the most widely distributed of the world’s 338 species of Hummingbirds, all of which occur ONLY in the Western Hemisphere.

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is often found between woodland and meadow.  However, it has adapted well to human development but only if there is shelter, space and food.  Thus, it is frequently seen in suburban backyards with mature trees and shrubs, in wooded parks, and around farmsteads.

As the male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is so territorial, on key is to offer losts of feeders.  We have several different feeders available for every garden decor.  No matter what kind of feeders you decide to use, remember two golden rules: Keep the feeder clean and the nectar fresh.  Fermented nectar can support the growth of deadly molds.  If a hummingbird gets a taste of fermented nectar from your feeder, it will look elsewhere for a drink and remain suspicious of the offending feeder for a long time.  Fermented nectar to hummingbirds is like drinking alcohol to humans.  Hummingbirds understand that they need a clear head for their acrobatic flying.

  • Plant open throated red flowers.
  • Tie a big red bow to trees and branches in your yard near feeders.  Hummingbirds have keen vision and are attracted to red.
  • Provide Nesting material.
  • Keep Feeders Clean!  We recommend the Brush kits in the hummingbird feeder section below.
  • Offer lots of feeders protected from ants.  Keep ants away from your feeders by using “Nectar Guard Tips” or hang a “Nectar Protector Ant Moat” above your feeder and fill it with water. (Ants can’t swim)  Recommended Feeders are listed below in the shop.
  • Keep Bees and wasps away from your feeders by using a flat top feeder where the nectar is not at the feeding port.  Hummers can reach but the bees can not.

 

One thing people often forget is it’s important to provide “host plants”, not just nectar sources.  By providing host plants, you can watch the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into an adult butterfly.  Besides host plants, of course, you need nectar plants that bloom from the start of the season to late summer and fall.

Remember to provide butterflies a place to warm in the sun.  Provide a bath waterer or “mister” for them.  Put out slices of banana.  Fruit flies come to the banana and butterflies consume fruit flies which provides them with protein and minerals.  Put out a slice of watermelon or overly ripe fruit, and you’ll be amazed at all the butterflies that stop by for a light lunch of “fruit plate”!

Visit our shop, The Empty Nest, where we offer both hanging and pole mounted butterfly houses.  In addition, find more  information to help you encourage butterflies to visit and stay with you. You will find advice for starting a butterfly garden, you’ll be able to browse butterfly houses, butterfly feeders, nectar, and garden decorative items featuring a butterfly motif.  You can shop for gifts for the butterfly lover, and watch a video on what host plants to provide if attracting butterflies is what you want in your garden.

To your success!

P.S. You’ll find more info and products to help in attracting butterflies here.

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