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How To Create A Butterfly Sanctuary In Your Backyard

Monarch Butterfly on Purple Flower

Have you always liked the idea of creating a butterfly sanctuary in your backyard? It all begins in the planning stages of your landscape design. To attract butterflies you’ll need some specific features to keep them fed, happy and safe from predators and inclement weather. 

Having an expert landscape design and build team, like the one at MPS Property Services, can help bring your butterfly sanctuary dream into reality. 

The Right Location 

Finding the ideal location in your yard is crucial when creating a butterfly sanctuary. Their wings are quite delicate, so it’s important that the spot you choose is well protected from the wind. This can be accomplished by choosing an existing sheltered area or planting a row of small trees or hedges. Trees and hedges will also allow provide the butterflies a place to roost at night. 

Butterflies are cold-blooded and rely on the sun for warmth, so it’s important that they have access to at least 5 or 6 hours of sunlight each dayFlat rocks placed in direct sunlight will absorb the sun’s heat and provide a warm resting spot for the butterflies, helping them maintain the correct body temperature. 

Installing a water feature or creating small puddling areas will help your butterflies get the required amount of water. Typically, they get water from tree sap, dew and nectar, but they can also benefit from additional water when the summer temperatures are high. 

Monarch Butterfly on Stone

Selecting Plants 

To attract butterflies and keep them coming back, it’s imperative to choose the right plants. There are a range of plants that butterflies enjoy, so you can be creativity and select plants that work with your overall landscape design. Make a point of checking with your landscape design team or local nursery to ensure that the plants you’ve selected are suited for your specific property and are known to attract butterflies. 

The two principles you’ll need to consider are choosing plants that provide nectar to butterflies and host plants that offer a spot to lay eggs and for hatched caterpillars to feed. It’s not a necessity to consider caterpillars in your landscape design, but if you can attract both, you’ll have generations of butterflies calling your backyard home. Butterflies are most attracted to purple and yellow flowers and prefer simple open blooms that allow easy access to nectar. Here is a short list of nectar and host plants for your butterfly sanctuary: 

Nectar Providing Plants:  

  • Violets 
  • Arabis  
  • Forget-me-nots 
  • Daisies 
  • Coneflowers 
  • Goldenrods 
  • Rue  
  • Sage  
  • Queen Anne’s Lace 
  • Joe-pye weed  
  • Purple cone flower  
  • Hydrangea 
  • Lilac 
  • Potentilla  
  • Rhododendron 
  • Rose of Sharon  
  • Sumac  

Host Plants:  

  • Asters 
  • Milkweed  
  • Birch 

Be Careful of Pesticides 

One thing that butterflies definitely don’t like are pesticides. For this reason, consider organic gardening products when possible and try not to set up your butterfly sanctuary in an area that may get residual pesticides through the air from other sources. 

A butterfly sanctuary is a landscape feature that can add a special touch to your backyard. Contact MPS Property Services for all of your landscaping needs.