Apparently Even Butterfly Need Houses

I get a lot of butterflies fluttering around my gardens. I love to watch them and I always think of my Grandma who loved them so much her bathroom wallpaper had them printed on it. I found this butterfly house at a garage sale a few years back and haven’t yet finished it. It is on ‘the list’—yes my infamous list of to-do projects I keep adding things to each summer. It is bottomless, kind of like the chips at Chilis (please don’t ask my how I hear they are also bottomless)

This is the year my butterfly house will be finished and I thought you might like some ideas about how to paint your own and mount it in your garden. I will be using it for Monarch Butterflies here in Indiana.

  1. You want to add some host plants to grow in your garden click on this to see what plants you need for your area. My garden now has a rather large amount of butterfly weed aka milk weed the Monarch caterpillar’s growing in the center of it. This is the best crop ever this year! It not only gives the caterpillar something to munch on before finding a place to ‘cocoon’ into but also is a brightly colored plant to cheer up your garden.
  2. You will want a few caterpillars and you can order them here or wait for some to come when they find your host plants.
  3. Nectar plants will be needed to keep the butterflies nearby, this site will help you find just the right foods for the newly formed butterflies. I am planting butterfly bushes, I have one currently but plan on planting a few more, they are so pretty and easy to grow.
  4. Be patient. It may take a while for wild butterflies to find your garden, it won’t happen overnight but once they find it, they will return every season you provide food for them.
  5. Reducing and/or eliminating the use of pesticides, and providing water and shelter are the basic steps in making your garden an attractive home for many species of butterflies.
  6. Build a butterfly house. This site has plans you can get for free.
  7. Things to keep in mind when building or purchasing a butterfly house:

  • When shopping for a butterfly house, look for one that opens in the back for easy cleanout. You will also want to place a piece of bark or a small branch inside for butterflies to perch on. If you are a do-it-yourself person, a variety of butterfly house plans can be found on the Internet. Make sure you use untreated lumber; pine and cypress are preferred.

  • Butterflies are attracted to bright colors: pink, purple, red, and yellow. Try painting your house in a Caribbean color scheme, or cover it with big bright flowers. Seal your paint job with a clear coat to make it last longer.

  • Place your butterfly house approximately four feet high on a post, fence, or tree in an area sheltered from strong winds. Wind movement makes butterflies feel unsafe, so it is not a good idea to hang the house where it might sway. The edge of a wooded area is an ideal location; the trees provide a safety factor while the open area provides room for nectar plants.

  • Host plants should be planted nearby along with a variety of nectar plants around the butterfly house such as asters, milkweed, phlox, purple coneflower, and wild bergamot.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you for your summer enjoyment. Pictures will soon follow of my own new butterfly house! Blessings to all.

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