How to nurture butterflies in your garden
Create a garden fit for a Painted Lady
What could be more soothing for the soul than enjoying the sight of one of nature’s most beautiful creatures? Watch their colourful wings flutter and dance from plant to plant. Floating around your garden in the summer sun, butterflies are a simple pleasure not to be missed.
There are 59 species of butterfly to be found in the UK, and they’ll grace any sized garden with a visit if there’s a safe place to rest, eat and recoup. Our tips will help you make your outdoor space a little more homely for our winged visitors.
Our handy checklist will help you choose the best flowers and tools to get you started on your butterfly journey, so make sure you take it with you when you visit us in-store.
The way to a butterfly’s heart is through its stomach! Make sure you have plenty of nectar to offer them by planting as many of their favourite flowers as you can to entice them into your space. Even a little window box can make you popular with butterflies, and they look gorgeous too.
We suggest Buddleia, Verbena Rigida, Lavender, Dianthus, French Marigold, Michaelmas Daisy and Salvia ‘Love and Wishes’. By including plants that flower throughout the year you can help butterflies to find food over a longer period.
The perfect place to perch
Even the busiest butterflies need a place to rest. Giving them somewhere cosy to have a little break will help them make your garden their own.
Butterflies seek out the warmest part of your garden so grow flowers in sunny sheltered areas. You don’t need an extravagant flowerbed, simply planting a pot on a balcony in a sunny position or filling a strategically placed hanging basket, protected from wind, will work too.
Put down the pesticides! Whilst they might get rid of your less welcome visitors, lots of them will kill butterflies too.
Using natural fertiliser helps you grow healthier plants, vegetables, and fruit without the need for damaging chemicals, it’s a win win! Leafmould is the perfect home-grown fertiliser, it’s easy to make and completely free. Read our how to make your own leaf mould guide for everything you need to know.
Switching to Peat free compost will have a huge impact on butterflies further afield. Peat bogs are home to many special animals and plants, including the Large Heath butterfly, which is declining across Europe.
Build a butterfly pitstop
Creating a butterfly pit-stop will undoubtedly attract butterflies to your garden, balcony, window box, wherever you build it…think of it like a local butterfly bar. And doesn’t it feel good to make space to welcome nature? Spend some time creating a butterfly pit-stop and you’ll have built a restful spot for them and for you. Our short video will help you create your own.
Water for weary wings
After a long day of flying around in the sun your visitors will need some refreshment. Create the perfect butterfly watering hole with just a saucer and some small stones. Place the stones in the saucer and fill with a little water. The stones will act as little seats for them to rest on whilst taking a drink. Add a couple of slices of orange for a little treat, this will help attract different kinds of butterflies too.
Not only is this a great way to help the butterfly population to thrive, it’s the perfect project to take on with the kids, giving you a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature, and if you’re quiet you’ll see some butterflies up close.
Enjoy your butterfly haven
Give yourself a little time each day to relax and watch the butterflies go by. Note down which kinds you see and if you can spot any patterns in their favourite places to rest, their favourite flowers to feast on, or the time of day they like to visit you.