Worldwide, there are about 20,000 types of butterflies, with over 700 types living in the United States. A butterfly garden is the perfect activity to do with kids. It is inexpensive to create and doesn’t take more than an hour of time to complete. Here is how you can create a butterfly garden with your kids.
Basically, in a butterfly garden, you need to plant 2 types of plants: Nectar plants and caterpillar food plants. Nectar plants will feed the butterflies and caterpillar food plants will feed caterpillars. The two most common types of butterflies in the United States are the American Painted Lady and the Monarch. Depending on the type you want to attract, will determine which plants you use, or you can choose to attract both types. For the American Painted Lady, Asters are great nectar plants, while Daisies are perfect for caterpillars. For the Monarch, Dogbanes are the ideal nectar food, while Milkweed is perfect for caterpillars.
Shrubs and trees provide adequate shade for your butterfly garden. They also provide the butterflies protection from the wind. In addition, fruit trees and willow trees are also great sources for caterpillar food. Another benefit of shrubs and trees is to provide the butterflies with protection from nightly predators.
Butterflies need some water, but they don’t need very much. The reason for this is because nectar, tree sap and dew give butterflies an ample amount of moisture. All you need to provide is a water station as a water source for the butterflies. Something as simple as a shallow pan with wet sand will do the trick.
Butterflies are cold-blooded critters so they need to have lots of sun. They like to sunbathe early in the morning, so ensure your butterfly garden has a spot that features morning sun.