Create a Butterfly Garden Create a Butterfly Garden

What You'll Need
A clean, empty milkjug
Scissors
Trowel
A windowbox or sunny patch of ground that is protected from the wind
Dark, moist soil
Flowers that are ready to be transplanted
Children love to garden and they love to watch butterflies. A butterfly garden is a great way to bond with your child, first by creating the garden, then by watching the butterflies that come to visit.

It is easy to attract butterflies to your yard. Simply plant a few of the right flowers in a flower bed, windowbox or planter.



The best plants for a butterfly garden are those that flower for a long period of time. It is best if they're fragrant and grow in colorful groups. They should have large blossoms that provide easy access to nectar. Snapdragons, zinnias, hibiscus, impatiens, geraniums, beebalm, milkweed, marigolds, calendula, daylilies, phlox and yellow sage are all great selections for your butterfly garden.

If you prefer to start your plants from seed, have your child help you plant them approximately six weeks before you plan to transplant them. The other alternative is to take your child to your local nursery and let him or her choose plants of different species and colors. If you are unfamiliar with flowers, nursery staff will be more than happy to give you advice.

Find a spot in your garden or plant flowers in a windowbox or planter. Wherever you decide to plant should be in a sunny location that is protected from the wind. This may be near a wall or a group of shrubs.

Since butterflies are cold-blooded, sunlight is very important for a successful butterfly garden. Sun keeps butterflies warm. You and your child should check your yard every hour throughout the day to see which area gets the most sun. If that area is somewhat protected, it is the perfect spot for your butterfly garden.

Allow your child to help you plant the flowers as instructed. Never use pesticides or spray on plants in your butterfly garden. The poison that kills insects will also kill the butterflies that come to sip the nectar from the flowers.

If your child is old enough, have him or her cut off the bottom or your milk jug. Leave the sides about two inches high. Have your child fill the jug with water and encourage him or her to change it frequently to keep it fresh and clean. Butterflies are social insects and they get thirsty just as humans do. Water for them to sip and flutter about in will attract them to your garden.

When the butterflies begin to visit your garden, sit quietly with your child and watch them. Take note of which species of flowers they are most attracted to. What time of day do you see the most butterflies? Are butterflies attracted to a particular color of plant? Does a butterfly flap its wings while its feeding or drinking? What other species of insects enjoy visiting and feeding in your garden?

A butterfly garden will bring you and your children great joy. Watching these beautiful creatures in a natural setting created by your own hands is an awesome experience for both you and your child. Butterflies have a soothing effect on the soul. Enjoy your butterfly garden and have a great summer.

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