How Butterfly Gardens Work

Butterfly Garden Maintenance

Like any garden, your butterfly garden will require some upkeep, but with a few special considerations. First, remember that butterflies are sensitive to pesticides of any sort, so you will have to discourage any unwanted guests through natural means. This means either letting nature’s pesticides, such as spiders and wasps, do the work for you or using natural products, such as insecticidal soaps or plant-based oils. You’ll also want to remember not to get too gung-ho about weeding because many weeds actually serve as caterpillars’ favorite grub. If hard freezes or droughts kill off any of your plants, be ready to substitute with some potted ones if necessary.

In fact, if you want to bypass the planting steps altogether, you can create a butterfly garden solely using container plants. Just visit your local nursery, buy native container plants for the butterfly species in your area, place them in a sunny spot with access to shelter and -- voila -- you have a butterfly garden.

As you can see, butterfly gardens are not terribly complicated, but they are extremely rewarding. Soon after planting, you will begin to see butterflies more frequently -- butterflies can detect food from miles away. Once they know they can count on your garden to provide them with both a source of nectar and a place to lay their eggs, they will likely stick around. Many butterflies spend their entire lives in one area, so you may even watch a butterfly complete its entire life cycle in your own backyard. Other butterflies may migrate in the winter or travel more widely, but as long as you continue to provide a welcome sanctuary for these winged creatures, their offspring will reward you with their presence.

For more interesting information about butterfly gardens and some good resources for creating one, check out the links on the following page.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Ajilvsgi, Geyata. "Butterfly Gardening For The South." Taylor Publishing. 1990.
  • Callaway Gardens. "Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center Tropical Conservatory." 2007. (Feb. 21, 2008)
  • Dole, Claire Hagen. "Buddleia: Butterfly Bush Extraordinaire." Butterfly Gardeners' Quarterly. Spring 1997. (Feb. 25, 2008)
  • Dole, Claire Hagen, ed. "The Butterfly Gardener's Guide." Brooklyn Botanic Garden. 2003.
  • Jones, Randi. "Butterfly Garden Articles." 2007. (Feb. 15, 2008)
  • ---. "Butterfly Life Cycle and Biology." 2007. (Feb. 15, 2008)
  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens. "Butterflies." (Feb. 21, 2008)
  • Schappert, Phil. "A World For Butterflies." Firefly. 2000.
  • Shalaway, Scott. "Butterflies in the Backyard." Stackpole. 2004.
  • The Field Museum. "Butterfly Basics." 2007. (Feb. 15, 2008)