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  • Butterfly Fact # 21

    Painted Lady butterflies can cover a lot of ground – up to 100 miles per day during their migration.

  • Butterfly Fact # 32

    A Painted Lady butterfly is capable of reaching speeds of nearly 30 miles per hour.

  • Butterfly Fact # 100

    Butterflies taste with their feet!

  • Butterfly Fact # 5

    The Painted Lady butterfly is the most widely distributed butterfly in the world.

  • Butterfly Fact # 4

    Painted Lady butterflies feed from over 100 different plants; this makes them incredibly vital pollinators.

  • Butterfly Fact # 24

    Caterpillars have twelve tiny eyes located near the mouth on both sides of the head.

  • Butterfly Fact # 47

    Butterflies will often feed from mud puddles to ingest minerals and salts, which are important supplements to their diet.

  • Butterfly Fact # 42

    Caterpillars have false legs at the rear of their bodies, which can be used for grasping or as “suction” cups.

  • Butterfly Fact # 71

    Butterfly wings are formed by layers of “chitin”, the protein that makes up an insect’s exoskeleton.

  • Butterfly Fact # 11

    When a butterfly emerges from the chrysalis, its mouth is made up of two separate pieces. The butterfly must “fuse” or “zip” these two parts together to form one tubular proboscis before it is able to eat.

  • Butterfly Fact # 99

    Caterpillars spin silk using tiny spinnerets located on the lower part of the head. When you see a caterpillar moving its head from side to side, it is usually spinning silk.

  • Butterfly Fact # 19

    Butterflies belong to an order, or group, called “Lepidoptera”. The word “Lepidoptera” means “scaly wings” in Greek.

  • Butterfly Fact # 14

    Most butterflies prefer to feed on nectar, but others will feed on the juices of rotting fruit or animal dung.

  • Butterfly Fact # 20

    If butterflies get too cold, they cannot fly, feed or mate. That’s why we recommend you release your butterflies when daytime temperatures are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Butterfly Fact # 41

    Painted Lady butterflies can adjust to almost any habitat. They are found in suburban, agricultural, swamp, bog, marsh, tundra, desert, meadow, forest, rainforest and mountain environments.

  • Butterfly Fact # 52

    All butterflies have a long, tube-shaped mouth called a “proboscis” which they use to drink liquids such as plant nectar. When not in use, this proboscis stays curled up and out of sight.

  • Butterfly Fact # 64

    The vibrant colors of a butterfly’s wings warn predators to stay away. These bright colors signify that the butterfly may taste bitter or may even be poisonous.

  • Butterfly Fact # 3

    Butterflies have no lungs. They breathe through openings on their abdomen called ‘spiracles’.

  • Butterfly Fact # 29

    Butterflies use their antennae to feel, smell and hear.

  • Butterfly Fact # 53

    A butterfly’s proboscis is almost as long as its entire body.

  • Butterfly Fact # 7

    A group of butterflies is known as a “flutter”, “swarm”, “rabble” or “kaleidoscope” of butterflies.

  • Butterfly Fact # 13

    Painted Lady butterflies have six legs, though sometimes it looks as though they only have four. Their forelegs are shorter than the others and are tucked up tight against their bodies.

  • Butterfly Fact # 10

    Butterflies are nearsighted but can see many of the same colors that we can – as well as ultraviolet colors that we are unable to see.

  • Butterfly Fact # 8

    Once released, Painted Lady butterflies can live outdoors for as long as an entire year.

  • Butterfly Fact # 27

    Painted Lady caterpillars will shed their exoskeleton five times as they eat and grow.

  • Butterfly Fact # 73

    The largest threat to butterflies is the loss of their habitats. The increase in farming, forestry, land and building development and climate change result in the decline of butterflies and moths.

  • A caterpillar’s first meal is often its own eggshell. The outer shell of the egg is rich in protein and gives them a nutritious boost.

  • Butterfly Fact # 62

    Butterflies produce a special adhesive to “glue” their eggs to host plants.

  • Butterfly Fact # 34

    Painted Lady butterflies inhabit every continent except Australia and Antarctica.

  • Butterfy Fact # 85

    A butterfly cannot fly or eat immediately after emergence. It needs time to prepare itself for life as a butterfly.

  • Butterfly Fact # 1

    Painted Lady butterflies lay their eggs on thistle, malva (or mallow), hollyhock and fiddleneck.

  • Butterfly Fact # 22

    Painted Lady caterpillars spin silk. They use this silk to attach themselves to their host plants. You’ll see your caterpillars spinning silk when your Cup of Caterpillars arrives.

  • Butterfly Fact # 101

    One caterpillar has as many as 4,000 muscles in its body – with 248 in its head alone.

The Butterfly Site

Raise Butterflies & Build Them a Home

What better way to start a butterfly garden than to raise your own butterflies for it? This can be an activity that the whole family can enjoy and learn from. You will first want to design and start your butterfly garden. Then you will need to either learn how to gather and raise butterflies from eggs, or you can purchase a butterfly kit and follow the instructions. This is the easier way to go, and with the instructions you shouldn’t have any problem raising healthy butterflies. Then release them into your garden and you have a ready-made butterfly habitat.

To start your garden, you will need to know what kind of butterflies you will be raising. Find out what kinds of plant nectar they like to feed on, as well as what kinds of plants they lay their eggs on and what their caterpillars like to eat. The caterpillars will eat the plant that they hatch on, but they tend to be picky and if they won’t eat it, they won’t survive, so it is important to have the right kinds of food for them. The host plants (caterpillar plants) are for the adult butterflies to breed once you have released them into the garden. If you want more types of butterflies, simply plant more types of host and nectar plants in your garden.

Once your garden begins to flourish, you can order your butterfly kit. The kit will come with everything you need to begin raising your butterflies, including live caterpillars and all of the instructions you need to keep them healthy. You and your family can enjoy watching the life cycle of the butterfly as it happens. The caterpillars will feed, and then form their cocoons, and they will complete their metamorphosis into butterflies right in the provided butterfly observation house that you get with the kit.

Once your butterflies have emerged and are in flight, you will want to release them soon into your butterfly garden. Some will fly away, perhaps all of them will, but many will either stay or return because you have provided them with a perfect habitat with your butterfly garden.

Some butterflies migrate for the colder months, so they won’t stay forever. The ones that don’t migrate only live for a few weeks. This is why you will want to provide a place for them to breed, so that you will have new butterflies naturally the next season. And if it takes a while for the wild butterflies to find your habitat and begin to breed there, you can always order more live caterpillars and raise more butterflies to release into your garden for the next season.

How to create your own butterfly garden

There is something to be said about watching a butterfly makes its way around a garden. Perhaps it is even a little mesmerising the way it glides through the air, the quick beat of its silent wings lifting it gracefully as its delicate body happily bobs a dance with the breeze from flower to flower, leaf to leaf. This sweet sight is usually enough to make most of us stop what we are doing and follow their path with our eyes (or as children dance along behind them with arms outstretched) before they catch a final gust of wind and float off into the sunlight and out of sight again.

Yes, there is little doubt that a beautiful garden is one that is alive with butterflies but whilst their presence was once one we could almost take for granted the truth today is quite different. Gone are the days of butterflies in abundance with today’s reality being that their numbers have decreased significantly over the years due to development and the subsequent destruction of their natural habitats. This is distressing, not just for the loss of their wonderful presence but because they are great pollinators and their existence is important in the continuing life cycle of our local flora and fauna. The good news though is that you can help to protect and conserve them, and it all begins by creating your own beautiful garden in which they can thrive. Its a win, win situation really.

How to build your own butterfly garden

If you build it they will come. A line from a famous movie and a very apt one in this case. Helping to protect and increase our local butterfly numbers starts in your own backyard and by knowing how best to create an environment in which they will thrive you will be aiding in their long-term conservation.

Step 1: Get familiar with the butterfly / caterpillar life-cycle

The first step towards building your own butterfly garden is to understand their life cycle. The entire life cycle of a butterfly – from eggs to caterpillar to pupa (chrysalis) and finally to butterfly can vary and, depending on the type of butterfly, may take anywhere from one month to a whole year. In order for the butterflies to survive and thrive they need to be able to have their needs met for each stage and so you will need to make sure you have the right plants in your garden to ensure this will happen and the perfect condition as well.

Step 2: Native host plants

Have you ever read the book The Hungry Caterpillar? Remember how when he first emerged from his egg he was starving and pretty much just ate and ate and ATE? Well, this is pretty much the primary goal of stage 2 of the life-cycle. Once the egg has been laid and the baby caterpillar inside has grown and emerged its primary job is to eat as much as possible, so it can grow as quickly as possible. Since they are only tiny and can not travel to a new plant, the caterpillar needs to hatch on the kind of leaf it wants to eat and as each caterpillar type likes only certain types of leaves this is where it is important to have done your research.

You can encourage a particular type of butterfly to your garden depending on the native host and nectar plants you have. The host plant is the one that will provide a bed for the eggs to be laid on and then subsequently leaves for the baby caterpillars to feed on. It will also be where the caterpillar transforms into a pupa (crysalis) prior to emerging as a butterfly. If you don’t have the right host plants for the butterflies to lay their eggs on, then they will not come. It is that simple.

Step 3: Native Nectar Plants

Equally as important, once your caterpillars have undergone their transformation and a beautiful butterfly has emerged it will be a native nectar plant that they will actively seek. This could be a small plant or vine like the Birdwing Vine or the Arrowhead Violet or it may be a larger shrub or tree like the Bottlebrush or Lemon Myrtle. There are many varieties that they like but the key is to have the right host and nectar plants available that are both suitable for the type of butterfly you are hoping to invite. This way from caterpillar to butterfly and back to egg, your garden will be able to supply each stage with its requirements that will help them to thrive and will ensure your garden is alive with their elegant presence.

Step 4: Hidden Dangers

It is very important to not just know what type of butterfly you want to attract and to get the plants that suit, but to also know how well those particular plants will suit your current environment. There are some host plants that, while enjoyed by caterpillars or butterflies, are actually poisonous – which renders them as such too. This can be dangerous for local birds or other fauna if they eat them so be as well informed as possible.

Step 3: Getting informed and all your supplies – a trip to Gold Coast Butterflies in Gaven

Josephine Romeo and Kirsti Whitlocke from Gold Coast Butterflies

Gold Coast Butterflies, a butterfly hobby farm in Gaven, is a fantastic way to start your journey and a trip there on your way down the coast will equip you with not only an impressive knowledge of the butterfly life-cycle, but also an experience in their delightful butterfly house. Most importantly, they are dedicated to helping people set up their own butterfly gardens and have an array of different kits and products available to get you started. The owner, Josephine Romeo, is particularly keen to help lift the numbers to the threatened Richmond Birdwing Butterfly and will happily help you prepare your garden with plants and supplies so that you can do your part in their conservation as well.

For just $10 you can get get a Butterfly Gardening Kit which includes:

  • Butterfly Host Plant and Nectar Plant Information
  • Local Butterfly Species ID Field Guide
  • Australian Native Butterfly Host Plant List
  • Butterfly Life-cycle Information and Colouring Sheet
  • Packet of Seeds – Nectar Flowers

There are so many benefits to creating your own butterfly garden at home. It is a great educational exercise for your family in both the life-cycle of butterflies as well as the need to do your part for the environment. It will help nurture and foster skills for future little gardeners. It will encourage an appreciation and love for nature and how precious it is. And it will help to create a wondrous space that will be alive with the colourful, yet delicate wings of butterflies so that your family may protect and enjoy them for many years to come.

About the Author Melanie Byers In a previous life, Melanie threw the obligatory hat in the air on graduating with a degree in Communications, packed her bags and spent 15 years working for the film and television industry in London and Australia. Today Melanie has 3 children and is keen on adventure around Brisbane, The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Melanie has a passion for writing and a love for gathering and creating memories with her family – especially while her kids are so young. Tell All Your Friends About This! Tweet

  • Please be aware that the butterflies may land on you, on the path or close to you, as they are free flying.
  • Please do not touch any caterpillars or plants during your visit.
  • The Butterfly House is a warm and humid place, so you may not wish to wear bulky coats or jumpers inside. We have lockers inside the Museum.
  • You aren’t allowed to eat or drink inside the Butterfly House, as it may attract them to you and increase the chance of them leaving with you! It can also attract more harmful pests.
  • Please make sure you take care to watch where you step, so as not to crush the butterflies.
  • Please do not try to remove them from your clothing, as they are very delicate and may die in the process. Ask a member of staff if you need assistance.
  • Please close any bags and pockets (if possible) before entering, as you may discover a butterfly has hidden inside when you get home.
  • Please note that pets are not allowed into the Butterfly House, however, Guide Dogs or other assistance animals are welcome.
  • When you are about to leave, please check your clothes for any butterflies that may have landed on you. We have mirrors by the exit so that you can check your back too.
  • Please leave your buggy in the buggy park, so you don’t leave with an extra (winged) passenger.
  • There is no fixed seating available inside the Butterfly House, but please ask staff for foldable stools if you’d like to rest for a while.
  • You are welcome to take photographs with hand-held cameras. Please refer to our guidance on filming and photography for further details.

Butterfly House at Horniman – Horniman Museum and Gardens

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Sensational Butterflies

This review ‘Sensational Butterflies’ is from 2016

The Natural History Museum’s butterfly house returns to a specially constructed tropical enclosure on the Museum’s east lawn. Visitors can come face-to-face with tropical butterflies, including the swallowtail, blue morpho, the moon moth and many others originating from Africa, Southeast Asia and North and South America, and take part in games, activities and challenges that teach more about the sensory world of the fluttering creatures.

Most of the creatures in the Natural History Museum have been dead for a very, very long time. But here, in this humid tent on its lawn, you can see the most beautiful birth sequence in the natural world: a butterfly wriggling out of its chrysalis, pumping up its damp wings then taking flight and landing – if you’re lucky – on you, instead of a flower.

Each year, hundreds of tropical chrysalises arrive at Heathrow from all over the world, destined for the tender care of the Museum’s expert lepidopterist Luke Brown – also a skilled butterfly midwife, who watches lovingly over their metamorphoses, and steps in with a pin to help the little insects free of their leaf-shaped pods if they’re struggling. In the wild, only 10 to 15 percent of them will make this extraordinary transformation from hairy caterpillar to nectar-sipping glider: here, the success rate is more like 85 percent.

Even if you don’t catch one in the act of emerging, this is a truly sensational environment: the damp, hot air is thick with colourful butterflies, and the sweet scents of fruit and flowers that attract them. There are so many butterflies that you have to take care not to trample them underfoot (I’d think twice before letting a toddler loose among these ultra-delicate live exhibits). But this is a wonderful chance to learn, via close-up observation, about these creatures, and to immerse yourself in every stage of their brief, gorgeous lives.

Caroline McGinn

Create a Butterfly Garden

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and interesting creatures on Earth. By planting a butterfly garden with all of the right kinds of plants and flowers that butterflies love to feed on and lay eggs on, you will certainly have a yard full of butterflies throughout the growing season. Butterfly gardens can be any size – a window box, part of your landscaped yard, or even a wild untended area on your property.
Creating a butterfly garden should start with some serious research to learn which kinds of butterflies are native to your area. You can learn that from our article “Butterfly Gardening by Area”. Make a list of all of the different kinds of butterflies you would like to attract, and then learn which flowers and plants they both feed on and lay eggs on. All of the plants will certainly be native to your area and therefore easy to grow with the right conditions and care. Adult butterflies will visit for a longer period if they find plants to lay their eggs on. These are called ‘Host Plants’ and you can read about them in our article on “Butterfly Host Plants.”
Once you have done your research and know which kinds of plants you need, you should learn about the plants and flowers. What do they look like? How tall do they grow? What conditions do they thrive in? Perhaps print small pictures from the internet of each plant and flower so that you can begin to plan your butterfly garden by placing the pictures in the order in which you will want to plant them. In this way you can get a very good estimate of how much room you will need, and what your finished butterfly garden will look like.

Check with a local greenhouse about getting these plants and flowers. Find out which ones are annuals and which are perennials. You may want to plant the annuals in the front of the garden or away from garden fencing because they will need to be replaced each year. Perennials will come back year after year so these should be near the back of the butterfly garden and left alone to grow and thrive. If your local greenhouse cannot get you the plants you need, check in catalogs that sell bulbs or online and order them. Be sure to learn when and how to best plant them, especially if you must purchase bulbs and start the plants from scratch.
You can add some butterfly garden accessories like a Butterfly House, which has slots the ideal size for keeping birds out while giving butterflies protection from the wind and weather, and are beautiful garden decorations. You could offer an additional nectar source close by to supplement your flowers. By providing both the food and shelter butterflies need you can prolong the butterfly’s stay in your garden and draw in others.
Once you have designed and started your butterfly garden, you can be proud that you have made a habitat for butterflies in your own yard, which helps with the conservation of the many species of quickly disappearing butterflies today. You will certainly want to place your favorite outdoor furniture near so that you can enjoy all of your visitors day after day.

How to Make a Butterfly Garden

Want to make a butterfly garden? Good news: It’s easy! You don’t need a ton of space — just a few of the right plants, a sunny spot, and a little patience.
Start by carving out the corner of your yard where you want to start your butterfly garden. If you have grass growing there, remove the grass and work the ground so you have soft, loose soil to plant in. If the soil is challenging — with excessive sand or clay, for example, add a liberal amount of compost to help give your plants a jump start. How much compost should you add? As much as you have: There’s no such thing as too much compost.
It’s helpful to site your butterfly garden near shrubs or small trees where butterflies can hide from predators and find shelter from harsh weather. While being located near a source of shelter is helpful, butterflies love the sun so be sure you’re planting in a sunny spot.
Plants for a Butterfly Garden
There are two types of plants you need to have for your butterfly garden. The obvious ones are nectar plants, which feed adult butterflies. Some top nectar plants include:

  • Aster
  • Blanketflower (Gaillardia)
  • Butterfly bush (Buddleia)
  • Coneflower (Echinacea)
  • Cosmos
  • Firebush (Hamelia)
  • Heliotrope (Heliotropium)
  • Lantana
  • Pentas
  • Salvia
  • Verbena
  • Yarrow (Achillea)
  • Zinnia

The other category of plant you’ll need for a butterfly garden is host plants. While adult butterflies visit nectar plants for sustenance, they’re even more strongly attracted to host plants, on which they lay eggs. The eggs hatch into caterpillars, which hungrily eat the host plants. Don’t expect your host plants to look perfect — the point of planting them is that they’ll have caterpillars chewing them up. If keeping your plants looking clean and fresh is important to you, try hiding your host plants behind your nectar plants where you’re less likely to notice the damage from the caterpillars feeding.

Most butterflies have specific host plants, so if you want to attract specific butterflies, it’s helpful to do a little research. Here are some common host plants and the butterflies they attract:

  • Baptisia attracts Sulphur and Frosted Elfin butterflies
  • Dill (Antheum) attracts Swallowtail butterflies
  • Hops (Humulus) attracts Mourning Cloak butterflies
  • Marigold (Tagetes) attracts Sulphur butterflies
  • Milkweed (Asclepias)attracts Monarch butterflies
  • Orange (Citrus) attracts Skipper butterflies
  • Parsley (Petroselinum) attracts Swallowtail butterflies
  • Passionflower (Passiflora) attracts Zebra Longwing, Julia, and Gulf Fritillary butterflies
  • Sunflower (Helianthus) attracts Checkerspot butterflies
  • Texas sage (Leucophyllum) attracts Checkerspot butterflies
  • Tomatoes (Lycopersicon) attracts Hummingbird moths
  • Yarrow (Achillea) attracts Painted Lady butterflies

After you plant your butterfly garden, spread several inches of mulch over the soil to help suppress the growth of weeds and keep the soil moist longer during times of drought. In a butterfly garden, you may not need to worry as much about weeds as some weed species are good butterfly attractors, as well.
Providing a water source can also be helpful. Some gardeners fill a dish with sand and water and leave that in the garden; the sand gives the butterflies a place to land, but they’re still able to drink water in between the sand granules. Misting devices or soaker hoses also work.
Once you have a butterfly garden, suppress the use of pesticides — especially insecticides — in your yard so you don’t harm butterflies or caterpillars.
Butterfly Gardening Questions?
We love to talk to other gardeners. Email us your questions and we’ll have one of our experts get back to you!

How to Start a Butterfly Garden

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Starting your own butterfly garden not only enhances the visual appeal of your outdoor space and lets you enjoy the company of these jeweled fluttering guests.

It also helps butterflies find food and shelter as many of their natural habitats are being lost due to human activities and urbanisation. You can easily invite butterflies to your garden by planting flowers and plants which they and their caterpillars feed on and following a few easy steps to create your own butterfly garden.

Table of Contents

  • Do your research first. Before you make your own butterfly garden, you first have to learn more about what kind of butterflies are native to your area. Knowing which butterflies you’re trying to attract is essential in selecting the nectar and host plants for your butterfly garden. In addition to consulting a guide on butterfly species and distribution, you might also take some time to observe which butterflies are common in your area.
  • Plan the garden. Planning your butterfly garden is important to both you and the butterflies. On the one hand, planting in groups lets butterflies find flowers and plants more easily, and on the other – proper landscaping will allow you to observe more closely butterfly activities. A suitable layout should consider the size which mature plants reach and grouping them by bloom time and colour. Place taller plants at the back of the garden, or plant a butterfly bush and start adding smaller plants in the front. Think also about locating the garden so you can view it from your window or patio.
  • Plant in the sun. Both the butterflies and the plants which attract them need a lot of sunlight – at least 6 hours every day. Nectar-producing flowers should be placed where they receive sunshine from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Butterflies require warmth to fly and they usually feed only in the sun. Make sure the place is sheltered from winds.
  • Plant nectar-producing flowers. One of the most straightforward ways how you can make your garden butterfly-friendly is to entice them with flowers which produce lots of pollen and nectar. Using sense receptors on their antennae and legs, as well as receptors in their feet, butterflies can not only smell flowers but also determine whether the nectar is edible. However, butterflies don’t just rely on their sense of smell. Colour is another criteria in finding food. Different species of butterflies prefer different types of nectar in terms of both colour and taste. The best way to attract butterflies to your garden is to plant a variety of food plants which will provide them with the greatest diversity. Combine wild and cultivated plants and plant blocks of plants rather than single flowers so that they are easily found by butterflies.
  • Give butterflies a place to lay their eggs. In addition to planting nectar-producing flowers, you also need to incorporate some vegetable plants and herbs in your landscape to give butterflies a place to lay their eggs. Such plants include parsley, dill, carrots, chives, or sage. The female butterfly attaches the eggs to leaves or stems of plants that will also serve as a suitable food source for the larvae when they hatch.
  • Go organic. If a butterfly garden is started as a conservation attempt, then it is only logical that no harsh chemicals for pest and weed control are used near them. Simply – butterflies are insects. Hence, garden pesticides and insecticides are toxic to them. Use biological methods to get rid of the pests and keep the butterflies safe and sound.

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How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden

  • Use splashes of colour. Butterflies don’t just follow sweet smells. Colour is the first thing they notice in plants, with red, yellow, and purple being most likely to attract them. Even better if planted in groups so they can easily locate and access them.
  • Plant for continuous blossom. Butterflies need spring flowers to help them come out of hibernation, as well as autumn flowers to help them build up their reserves for winter. That’s why, you need to consider planting a variety of flowers to provide nectar throughout the entire season. Plant a succession of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs which will provide nectar and pollen throughout the growing season. Keep in mind that butterflies prefer native flowers and plants, as they have evolved simultaneously and depend on each other for survival and reproduction.
  • Place flat stones. Butterflies need a place to rest and spread their wings in the sun. This raises their body temperature and lets them fly and remain active. They often perch on stones, bare soil, or vegetation. Provide a few stones around your garden where they will be able to bask in the sun, which they also need for orientation.
  • Create an area for “puddling.” Butterflies gather in puddling areas to get minerals they need. Provide them with one in your butterfly-friendly garden by digging a shallow recess in the ground. Cover the bottom with plastic and fill with wet sand.
  • Provide food for caterpillars. When laying eggs, female butterflies choose plants which the caterpillars prefer to eat. If you don’t provide the desired food plants for a caterpillar, the butterfly most likely won’t lay eggs and even if it does, the caterpillars will rather starve than eat a leaf which does not satisfy its dietary requirements.
  • Provide food for adult butterflies. Butterflies visit brightly coloured and sturdy flowers which can support them while they feed. They prefer clusters of short, tubular flowers or flat-topped blossoms and single flowers, whose nectar is more accessible and easier for butterflies to extract that the nectar of double flowers.
  • Provide water. Nectar, dew, and tree sap provide butterflies with moisture but they also use puddles and moist dirt or sand as sources of water. Usually, a damp area of ground covered with sand in your garden will suffice to provide butterflies with water and dissolved salt.
  • Provide shelter. Leave a hollowed trunk where butterflies will be able to hide.

How to Choose Plants that Attract Butterflies

The crucial aspect of a butterfly-friendly garden is to provide different flowers that attract butterflies – both nectar-producing flowers such as butterfly weed, purple coneflowers, and asters – and host plants for their caterpillars like violets, nettle, or willow. Having these in your garden will definitely make it enticing to local butterflies. Consider also planting butterfly bush, oregano, milkweed and marigolds to increase the number of colourful visitors.

How to Make Butterfly Food

All butterflies like nectar plants but besides planting nectar-producing flowers, there are other ways to make butterfly food and make your garden an alluring spot for butterflies. Butterflies like to eat sugar from a rotting fruit. Try making two different kinds of feeders and see if they attract different types of butterflies.

  • Leave fruit to ferment. Butterflies enjoy the sugar from overripe or rotting fruit, so if you have a pear, plum or a cherry tree in your garden, don’t be quick to clean up beneath it. Let butterflies feast on the fermenting fruit.
  • Make a nectar feeder. Another attractant to butterflies is home-made nectar. You can make it by boiling 4 parts water to 1 part granulated sugar until all the sugar is dissolved. Once cooled, you can serve the solution in a shallow container with an absorbent material such as a sponge or paper towels saturated with the sugar solution, or make a jar butterfly feeder to hang in the garden.
  • Make a fruit feeder. Place a shallow pot or a plate somewhere you can watch butterflies feed and fill it with pieces of overripe fruit. Add some water or juice to prevent the fruit from drying and make that mushy consistency which butterflies like.

Observe and Enjoy

If you follow these simple steps to create your own butterfly garden, you will soon be noticing more and frequent guests feeding on flowers or fruit, resting on stones, and puddling in water. Locate your butterfly garden so that you can observe it from your window or your patio.

Consider planting a circular butterfly garden place a bench for hours upon hours of observation. You can start a journal or a photo gallery to capture the types of butterflies local to your area and to follow the fascinating life cycle of butterflies – symbols of change and metamorphosis. Butterflies will visit any size of garden, so you don’t really need a lot of space. Even a few window boxes with nectar-producing flowers and host plants for caterpillars is enough to help butterflies in urban areas.


Over to you – do you have some strategies on how to attract butterflies to your garden? Feel free to drop a comment below.

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Raising Butterflies: Butterfly Kits for

The Educational Experience of Raising Butterflies

These kids got to observe live Painted Lady caterpillars turn into Butterflies.

Parents are always looking for the most unusual, interesting gifts to give their kids that the children will love to receive and that they can learn from. Raising butterflies is truly an educational experience that every child will want to do over and over again.

You can take the kids on a hike to search for butterfly eggs and collect them, then make a home for them. Make sure to provide them with the appropriate food for the caterpillars to eat (the plant you found them on), something for them to climb on to make their cocoon, and something for the butterflies to eat once they emerge. Make sure you have adequate fresh food growing nearby for your hungry caterpillars! Punch small holes in a jar lid, or cover the top with a fine screen mesh held on with a rubber band. Keep a damp paper towel in the container. Frequently clean the cage of frass (droppings). Replace the food plants as necessary, when the leaves have been eaten or turn dry. As the newly hatched caterpillars grow, they will need plenty of food and space.

Teachers can buy a live School Size Painted Lady Butterfly raising kit.

OR you can make it easy on yourself and buy butterfly kits for children to raise Painted Lady Butterflies or Bright White butterflies (although the hike to find the eggs in their natural habitat is a good idea, too, just don’t collect them).

The educational experience of raising butterflies is something that your children will never forget. They will learn about the life cycle of the butterfly because they will watch the transformation day by day from the egg state all the way through the metamorphosis to a butterfly. Be sure to watch each stage of butterfly development carefully. You may observe how the egg changes color before hatching, how the caterpillar eats and moves, and how it changes features and perhaps color as it grows. Check on the pupa often so you can release the adult outside soon after it emerges. (Biology)

The children will also learn about the conservation of butterflies, and they will be helping to save them. Butterflies are disappearing at an alarming rate, as are many insects, because of urban development. There is just no place left for them to lay their eggs that is safe enough for the caterpillars to survive. Raising butterflies, and then releasing them into the wild once they transform, is one of the best ways to help save the species. (Ecology)

Children will be responsible for cleaning the butterfly house, as well as making sure that there is enough food and spritzing the butterfly house regularly (according to the directions on the Painted Lady Butterfly kit, if you choose to go that way). This is a wonderful alternative to, or practice for, a more permanent kind of pet, like a dog or a cat. (Responsibility)

Watch Caterpillars grow into Chrysalis

Once the butterflies have emerged from their cocoons, the children should be allowed to watch them for a day or two, but the butterflies should be released within that time so that they can reproduce in the wild. Also, it should be noted, that butterflies only have a life span of a few weeks once they have turned into butterflies, so it is probably best to make sure that they are released before their life span ends. Remember your first goldfish? The death of any pet is tragic for a child, but the feeling that they are saving the butterflies is a wonderful experience and they will be proud of themselves for letting them go. (A little growing up)

You can order butterflies online from one of the largest butterfly kit suppliers in the country. We like Butterfly & Nature Gift Store, who specializes in Painted Lady butterfly kits for children.

Choose your Butterfly Kit for Raising Monarch Butterflies Indoors

Do you want to raise monarch butterflies indoors so you can boost their survival rate over 90%? Check out our monarch butterfly kits that combine the raising supplies and tools with the information you need to raise and release healthy monarch butterflies.

Butterfly Habitat Kit

Our butterfly habitat kit includes the following to give your monarchs a safe and happy home:

  • 1 Big Cube Butterfly Cage which allows you to comfortably raise up to 30 caterpillars inside ($26.97)
  • 1 Baby Cube Butterfly Cage allows you to raise up to 15 caterpillars ($14.99)
  • 1 Tall Baby Butterfly Cage which allows you to comfortably raise up to 15 caterpillars inside ($17.99)
  • 1 Monarch Tower Butterfly Cage which allows you to comfortably raise up to 30 caterpillars on milkweed plants ($29.97)
  • New Drawbridge Door Design on CUBES for Easy Access
  • Floral tubes or picks (for milkweed cuttings) available in packs of 8 or 12
  • Floral Tube Holder Racks now available (two different styles)
  • Poo Poo Platter Cage Insert available for baby cube and tall baby cages
  • Find monarch eggs/caterpillars for your habitat kit outdoors on milkweed plants.
  • US Shipping: economy or priority flat rate shipping
  • Also Ships to: Canada, Australia, New Zealand
  • Credit card payment is secured by SSL with 256-bit encryption, or pay through paypal/amazon payments

Get more info about the big cube and baby butterfly cages here

Ultimate Raising Kit

If this is your first season raising monarchs then check out our butterfly growing kit which includes:

  • 1 Big Cube or Baby Cube, Tall Baby, or Monarch Tower Butterfly Cage
  • Floral tubes or picks (for milkweed cuttings) available in packs of 8 or 12
  • Poo Poo Platter Cage Insert available for baby cube and tall baby cages
  • How to raise monarch butterflies book. The book is a digital PDF guide and will be available to download instantly. Get more info about the raising book here
  • Eggs and/or caterpillars are not included, but egg hunting tips + suggested monarch vendors are in the book in case the monarchs have gone into hiding
  • Save 15% when you bundle a cage with the how to raise monarchs book
  • US Shipping: economy or priority flat rate shipping
  • Also Ships to: Canada, New Zealand, Australia
  • Credit card payment is secured by SSL with 256-bit encryption, or pay through paypal/amazon payments

important note: if you are ordering kits to multiple physical addresses, please order them separately…thanks!

Butterfly Book Kit

  • Butterfly Gardening to Attract Monarchs- Instant PDF Download
  • How To Raise More Monarchs with Less Effort- Instant PDF Download
  • Save $3.00 on this monarch butterfly kit book bundle

I hope these butterfly kits give you the tools you need for raising happy, healthy monarch butterflies. Share the Joy of Butterflies


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