Home / Butterfly Garden? ...you are here...
I have an area in my backyard I want to turn into a butterfly garden. Any ideas that are cheap?
Buy: Butterfly Garden? Poster
5 Responses to “Butterfly Garden?”
a web page on how to create a butterfly garden.
I bought a Butterfly Bush at a local nursery a few years ago. It grew amazingly fast and was very hardy in cold temps. We just moved and I plan on buying one for our new house. I buy several packages of seeds,(they usually go on sale like 10 for $2, mix them all together and plant in a raised bed. Makes for a cheap, colorful, airy display that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies And you can buy butterfly feeders and nectar as well. ( I have seen these but never tried them)
The best way to plant a garden like this when you need to be careful with your spending is to plant seeds rather than bedding plants. It may take a little more time, but you will eventually have a good butterfly garden for relatively little cost.
The site below has a list of good annuals and perennials that will attract butterflies; you can also add a butterfly feeder until the garden really becomes mature enough to attract butterflies on its own.
Cheap – one of my favorite words, ha ha
Butterflys (and hummingbirds) both like zinnias – which are super easy to grow – and you can buy the seed packets for 10 for a dollar sometimes at dollar stores. Same thing with bachelor buttons…..and Cosmos
They also seem to like chives – which keep coming back, and surprisingly make cute little cut flowers AND tasty salad toppings.
Purple coneflowers – Echinecea – they are wild about those too – they will come back and make good cut flowers too.
Check your local paper for plant swaps. Lots of people with perieneial gardens have to split up the plants when they get too big and they sell them for real cheap to other gardeners at these plant “flea markets”
Finally – if you go to a garden center, they will have seed packets that are mixes intended for butterfly gardens. I’ve tried them before – and if you are looking for something that will turn out like a wildflower meadow, they are fine, but for a neater look (y’know, tall in back, short in front) they dont work that well. Its easier to take a look at whats in the mix, then plan a garden around those varieties….thats what I have done.
P.S. they have a hard time with access to water. Include something along the lines of a pie plate or birdbath – put a sponge in it (besure to rinse it out on occasion or it will get mouldy) that way they can drink.
Do your research on the web and at public libraries.
The questions you need to answer are:
1.) What butterflies are endemic to your area?
2.) What host plants do the butterfly caterpillars need?
3.) What are the adult butterflies favourite food plants?
There are numerous books and societies that will help you with the information. Once you have the plants listed you can start planning your butterfly garden.
One saving you will make right away is that you need to stop spraying insect poisons. I like pointing out the grubs on the trees to visitors and saying that the holes in the leaves are a sign that butterflies are breeding.
When you plan your butterfly garden try and orientate it so that the short plants are on the sunward side of the bed and the tall plants are at the back of the bed. Leave a strip in front for annuals
Next you need to get the plants that will attract the butterflies. Research plant propagation by cuttings and invest in some rooting hormone. Scour the area for the plants that you want. I’ve found that if you explain to neighbours why you want a plant, they will let you take cuttings, seeds and some times they have let me dig up a self seeded baby plant. A lot of the butterfly plants for your area should be found in “waste areas” like open lots and along railway lines.
I set up the basis for my butterfly garden five years ago and am still trying to get one of the mistletoes, the bastard shepherd’s bush and a replacement for my milkweed bush.
Feel free to leave a comment... and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!
You must be logged in to post a comment.