Craig Della Penna, Realtor® | Northampton Real Estate, Amherst Real Estate, Florence Real Estate

Have you ever visited a butterfly garden and marveled at how beautiful it was to see so many butterflies happily fluttering along flower to flower? Did you wish that you could have that same experience more often?

How about every day?

By turning your flower garden into a strategically designed one that attracts butterflies this could be your reality every day! Here’s how to get started:

First, you should know that butterflies eat from different plants than caterpillars. And while you might be tempted to leave out the plants that sustain caterpillars if you want a consistent butterfly presence caterpillars are a critical piece to that puzzle.

No caterpillars mean no butterflies.

But choosing which plants to add to your garden for caterpillars is going to depend on your region. This list tells you what to plant based on butterfly species

Some plants that provide caterpillar are dill, fennel, milkweed, white clover, and parsley.

Nectar plants, from which butterflies eat from, include the butterfly bush, cosmos, purple coneflower, and zinnia. Alyssum. These are also fairly easy flowers to grow, which is great news if you don’t naturally have a green thumb.

Some butterflies also like fruit! Attract them by placing overripe fruit such as oranges, pears, and melons in a dish in your butterfly garden.

You’ll want to create variety in plants that you add to your garden. Aim for a layout much like the one you would find in a more “natural” setting. Look to add shrubs and trees in addition to perennials. Varying the heights of plants also helps to create a natural atmosphere.

Attract the eye of butterflies by clumping flower types together. It’s easier for them to see a larger expanse of bright colorful flowers than a couple ones spotted here and there. When they see a large swath of similar buds they know it’s a good place to snack!!

Shrubs and trees are critical to your butterfly garden. They provide safety for caterpillars, shield your garden from wind which in turn encourages butterflies the ability to explore and also provides butterflies shelter to rest safely at night

Plan your garden to have plenty of time in the sunlight. Butterflies are cold-blooded and need to spend their mornings warming up in the sun before setting off for the day! Having a rock or two in these sunny areas will encourage butterflies to stay awhile and warm their wings. Ideally, these sunny spots will get around 6 hours of sun.

Another lesser known feature to include in your butterfly garden are what is known as puddling stations. A puddling station is essentially a shallow container filled with sand and water for butterflies to stop and perch on to drink. Have a few of these stations throughout your butterfly garden!