Butterfly gardens are popular spots for a summer wedding, picnic or just a place to get away with a good book. However, in addition to butterfly-friendly plants such as dill, parsley and butterfly bush, you also need butterfly feeders. A feeder provides a safe haven for butterflies to eat, shelter or hibernate when overwintering in your garden.
According to The Butterfly Website.com, there is debate among butterfly enthusiasts over whether butterfly houses really work. While butterflies are attracted to the internal feeders, few butterfly house owners report that butterflies actually use them to hibernate or shelter. Instead, they seem to prefer a stacked woodpile or stand of trees. However, a few users have reported success with butterfly houses.
A butterfly house is similar to a bird house. Butterfly shelters are boxlike in shape. They are typically filled with resting places for butterflies, such as twigs and branches. They may have a glass partition or netting so that the box may be viewed from the outside. The home's entrance holes will be too small for the butterfly's natural predators, such as birds, to get in. There may also be a place to feed the butterflies inside the habitat. This feeder may consist of a sponge soaked in sweet liquid.
Butterflies eat things that are sweet. This may include sugar water, which is why butterflies may visit hummingbird feeders. A butterfly may also eat overripe fruit or rotting vegetation. One good recipe for feeding butterflies is one part granulated sugar mixed with four parts water. Boil the solution until the sugar is dissolved, and then let it cool. Allow the sponge in the shelter to soak this mixture up.
While many butterfly enthusiasts want to place the butterfly home in the sunniest spot in the garden, this may not be the best place. Butterflies prefer darker, moister, woodsy areas. A better place for your butterfly home would be near a wood pile or within a stand of trees.
Ideally, you should plant host plants for butterfly species nearby. A butterfly is most likely to use a butterfly house in the fall, when it is nearly time for hibernation. Host plants provide a place for butterflies to lay their eggs and food for the emerging caterpillars. Some host plants butterflies like are milkweed, sunflowers, fennel, dill, parsley, clover and hollyhocks.