By choosing a number of different flowers and shrubs that are fed on by butterflies you will ensure that butterflies visit your garden. Even in a small area you can make a bright, diverse, and colorful butterfly friendly garden that is attractive throughout the growing season. Butterflies need food (nectar plants), cover, water, and plants to lay their eggs on.
When putting together a butterfly garden or improving your local area to be more suitable habitat for butterflies, plan ahead. Determine what environmental conditions you have: soil type and light conditions will dictate which plants are best for your area. Try to proved some areas within your garden that are sheltered from wind so the butterflies can rest and feed with out being blown about. For most plants that attractive butterflies, at least six hours of direct sunlight each day is best, but some plants will grow in areas with less.
Group your plants in large diverse plantings; this will optimize the gardens display and attraction for butterflies. The butterflies will be able to locate your plants from a longer distance away and will more likely find some plants that they like and stay longer. Use plants that vary in color, size, and their season of bloom. Provide a variety of plants that have flowers with different flower shapes. Butterflies have varying lengths of tongues, which are called proboscises, which determine the flowers they can best feed from.
Good butterfly gardens also have cover and shelter to protect the butterflies during windy weather, or when predators come into the area. Broad-leaved trees, shrubs, tall grasses, and piles of sticks and logs are suitable shelter areas. Since butterflies are insect, which relay on the sun to warm their bodies, several sunbathing perches in open and sunny areas throughout the garden will be welcomed by most butterflies. Water sources, which can include, ponds, birdbaths, pans, and buckets are most welcome by butterflies and will provide needed water. If mud is also availed it can provide some needed nutrients.