Water and Nectar for Butterflies
Chuck B. mentioned an interesting talk by a butterfly gardener in the comments of my post on plants that are butterfly magnets. You can read Chuck’s post about the lecture at his garden blog. While the talk was specifically for California butterfly gardening, there is useful information there for butterfly gardeners everywhere.
For example, creating a water source for butterflies is as easy as ensuring there are puddles in your garden. These puddles can be in the form of a depression in a stone that catches water, or filling a birdbath with rocks and mud. This video of a butterfly sipping water from a dirty flip-flop illustrates that butterflies are not very picky about their water source.
Benjamin mentions that in his garden he regularly observes butterflies sipping droplets of water from of stones and leaves. Before you put your fruit scraps into the compost bin think about setting them outside for the butterflies. He and his wife like to put out rinds and mushy pieces of fruit for the butterflies to nectar on.
The First Rule of Butterfly Gardening
Benjamin and the speaker Chuck B. blogged about pointing out that you should avoid using pesticides in your garden. If you are having a problem with pests in your garden, opt for safer treatments instead of using broad spectrum pesticides.
Use alternatives like horticultural oils and soaps and make sure you don’t accidentally spray any caterpillars. Many pests, like aphids, can be removed by simply clipping the stem they’re attached to and disposing of it. Put on a pair of garden gloves to pick and squish larger pests like slugs and beetles.
What are some ways you make your garden more enticing to butterflies?