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Fast, Free Butterfly Baths

Fast, Free Butterfly Baths

Butterflies are drawn to water, but only if they can wade and flit in just the shallowest of shallows. (Ever notice gatherings of butterflies on the puddles along a creek or stream?) They are also are drawn to a particular nutrient found in soils.

Here’s how to provide butterflies a butterfly spa that they love so that they flock to your garden, deck, or balcony:

Make a Butterfly Landing Pad

Recycle an old Frisbee. Add marbles to the bottom for weight and landing pads (or a flat stone, a brick, or something organic and heavy that you have handy).

Sink a broken cup into the ground or into a large pot of plants on your deck or balcony. Cut up a sponge to fit into the cup or stuff in a well-rinsed net shower scrubber. Keep the cup filled with water.

Fill an old pizza or jelly roll pan with water to provide a shallow puddle on a sunny day. Line the pan with a cotton tea towel or paper towels.

Make it “For Butterflies Only”

Another way to attract butterflies is to make a small butterfly spa using a large plate, an old baking dish, or a shallow ceramic bowl. Sink the dish into the ground (preferably in a flowerbed, which is attractive as well as convenient–no mowing around it) and fill it with sand, which has absorbed or contains the salts and nutrients butterflies love. Or just toss a shovelful of dirt into the container. Wet the sand or dirt thoroughly and make sure it stays constantly damp.

Make a Butterfly Buffet

A platform feeder meant for birds works nicely for giving butterflies a buffet of bananas, watermelon, or apples. Change the fruit every day or two to keep the display presentable, although the butterflies won’t mind and would probably prefer rotting material. Swallowtails, painted ladies, and fritillaries are the most likely to visit a fruit station such as this.

Adapted from Panty Hose, Hot Peppers, Tea Bags, and More–For the Garden, by Yankee Magazine (Rodale Press, 2006).

Read more: Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Activities,

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


+ add your own
11:23PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Some great ideas. I will try some when I decide on the best part of the garden to do it in.

7:44PM PDT on Oct 20, 2011

Thank you for the information.

6:03AM PDT on Jul 17, 2011

Thank you

2:23AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011


4:23PM PDT on Sep 12, 2010

Love the ideas, and have already had some success!Thanks so much for this wonderful article, even my daughter has taken such delight with the success!

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9:38PM PDT on Jul 16, 2010

Thanks! Could use the advice. Raising ten right now to release soon.

9:29AM PDT on Jun 28, 2010

Great article!

2:01PM PDT on Jun 16, 2010

TY. BRILLIANT article. It would have never occured to me.....

2:01PM PDT on Jun 16, 2010

TY. BRILLIANT article. It would have never occured to me.....

5:20AM PDT on Apr 3, 2010

Great article. Thank you Annie!!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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