Gardening for our Beautiful Butterflies
Butterflies are a welcome addition to any garden and like many native buddies, need all the help they can get to make sure they remain regular backyard guests.
Attracting and keeping butterflies around your yard is a cinch. Butterflies go through a number of different lifecycle changes but they always need food, shelter from the wind and a drink of water to keep them going.
Butterflies depend on two types of plants to survive. Flowering plants, called nectar plants, produce nectar to keep butterflies alive and food plants are ones on which the female can lay her eggs.
You can help look after Butterflies in your Backyard
Butterflies are a welcome addition to any garden and like many native buddies, need our help to make sure they remain regular guests. Butterflies are cold-blooded and need plenty of warm sunshine. You may see them in early spring with wings wide open to the warming sun. Or you may see them just touch the top of a bird bath or pond.
Purple, red, orange, and yellow flowers attract butterflies. With a few simple changes, your backyard or park can become a better home for butterflies.
Be a Backyard Buddy
- Sunshine. It gives them the energy they need for flight. Provide a small, open area, without overhanging trees.
- Garden flowers which give them the sweet taste of nectar.
- Puddles of water where they can safely take a drink.
- Friendly gardens where they can hide from cats or dogs that may chase them.
- Strong winds, which can tear their fragile wings.
- Rain, which keeps them from flight.
- Cats that frighten or even attack them.
- Garden pesticides which kill them.
Be a Buddy to Butterflies
- Provide lots of warm sunshine – cold blooded butterflies need plenty of sunshine to give them energy.
- Put some rocks in your butterfly garden to soak up the rays and give your butterflies a place to sun themselves.
- Maintain diversity in plant height, colour and flowering periods. Grow a variety of nectar-rich natives in your garden so a reliable food source is available all year.
- Plant groups of the same species together so that it is more obvious to butterflies and locate tall plants at the back to offer maximum protection from strong winds.
- Place a shallow dish of muddy water in a sunny spot.
- Find out what to plant. Each type of caterpillar has its favourite plant for food.
- Experiment and learn which flowers your local butterflies prefer. Get to know what their caterpillars look like.
- Using poisonous pesticides in your butterfly garden.
- Mowing or slashing grasses and sedges on which butterfly larvae are dependant.
- Butterflies hang upside down from leaves or twigs. Butterflies rest in this position on cloudy days or at night, hidden amongst foliage
A few more Butterflies facts
- Butterflies can see red, green, and yellow.
- Butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 28 degrees C.
- There are about 400 species of butterfly in Australia.
- Butterflies taste with their feet. Their taste sensors are located in the feet, and by standing on their food, they can taste it!
- Butterflies don't have mouths that allow them to bite or chew. They, along with most moths have a long straw like structure called a proboscis which they use to drink nectar and juices.