Attracting butterflies to your garden

  • By editor
  • 5th October 2020

How to turn your garden into ‘Flutter Island’

A bustling garden warms the heart like nothing else. Flora coupled with wildlife is not just easy on the eyes but also proves to be an instant stress buster. Butterflies, for instance, are a hit among those who love gardening. But luring them into your space and making sure they like the habitat enough to stick around, is not an easy task.

Attracting butterflies into your garden calls for careful selection of plants, to begin with. One needs to choose varieties which act as a home for all life stages of a butterfly. Not only do these pretty little things require a place to lay eggs, and plants to act as food the caterpillars can consume, there better be flowers to provide nectar for the adult members as well.

Lesser Grass Blue, Common Blue Apollo, Common Mime, and Common Mormon are a few of the most popular Indian species of butterflies. A sure-shot way to attract them is by planting native flowering plants. Since butterflies and regional plants co-evolve over time, they depend on each other for survival and reproduction. Hence, it’s best to stick to the local varieties thriving in your geographical area.

Another way to invite them to your (floral) party is via colour. Adult butterflies are attracted to bright colours – red, yellow, orange, pink and purple blossoms that are flat-topped or clustered, are their favourite. Short flower tubes also interest them. But make sure the nectar-source plants get full sun as adults only feed in the sun.

Most people expect a few plants to do the trick. That won’t work. Since butterflies need nectar throughout the adult phase of their lives, there has to be a consistent supply of it. The only way to achieve that is through a plethora of plants which keep blooming one after the other.

There’s no way butterflies will drop in if you use insecticides. Most insecticides are lethal to caterpillars so avoid them completely. Instead, make sure you feed the caterpillars in order to help them grow and become your flutter buddies. Native plants help here, too.

One of the most interesting sights is witnessing butterflies ‘puddle’ i.e. drinking water and extracting minerals from damp puddles in wet sand and mud. To enable this, keep the sand moist. Also, decorate your garden with flat rocks for them to rest on whilst basking in the sun. 

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