Make a home for butterflies

Get down in the mud with your child and bring some butterflies home with your own garden.

It is always a delight to see the colourful winged butterflies fluttering around. You might get to witness butterflies only when in the woods or surrounded by a lush green garden. But even in the concrete jungle that we are living in, you can grow your own beautiful butterfly garden providing a heaven for varieties of butterflies.

To begin with… …remember to not pick a spot isolated from other plants as with no other green it’s likely that butterflies will give your garden a pass. Secondly, the best time to build a butterfly garden is during spring or the fall. Avoid summer and the winters at all costs.

Know your plants To attract butterflies, you need two types of plants: Host and Nectar plants. Butterfly milkweed is a must as not only will the bright orange flower attract butterflies; it also provides food for caterpillars and is the chosen place for Monarch butterflies to lay their eggs. Also, dill and parsley is a great food provider for butterfly caterpillars.

For nectar plant pick azaleas, rhododendrons, lilacs, hollyhocks, purple coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, beebalm, cleome, and weigela with its flowers they are superb butterfly attractors. A Buddleia - also known as butterfly bush – is a must, while Mexican sunflower will also attract hummingbirds. A few common nectar plants in India are sunflower, marigold, lantana, petunia, and hibiscus.

Preference and sunlight Butterflies see more colours than humans and seem to prefer red, orange, yellow, purple, and dark pink. A colourful garden can be easily made heaven for butterflies and tempt them to stay. Apart from planting a variety of colourful plants, make sure to have plants of different heights.

A resting place It is important to also provide these colourful winged friends with a resting place. Since they are cold-blooded, they look for a warmer spot in the morning. Place flat rocks where the butterflies can soak in the sun. An added advantage would be if the rocks have shallow depressions allowing the water to puddle, giving butterflies a place to drink from.

Things to remember Butterflies are weak fliers, so it is advisable to not make a garden in a windy and exposed position. And always place the host plant in the background and the nectar plants in the front. Most importantly, rotten fruits and peels are a great source of minerals for butterflies – so make sure to put a few. Keep in mind that both the butterflies and the plants need a lot of sunlight - at least six hours every day.

So go grab a few pots, fill it with mud, throw in some seeds and see butterfly become a part of your family.