Location, location, location!  You’re going to need a warm, sunny location in order to attract butterflies.  These beauties are cold-blooded creatures that require sun to warm their bodies, so locate a place within your yard that offers lots of sun and protection from the wind – perhaps near a wall, fence or even a hedge.  Additionally, creating a “resting” stop with dark-colored stones, rocks or boulders that attract and hold heat can be very inviting and will allow the butterflies to fly longer, eat more, search for mates, lay more eggs and ultimately bring more butterflies to your garden.   You may even consider adding a small “wet” spot.  A large rock with a small depression kept full of water is a great option.

To attract and feed them, plant large groups of flowers that bloom throughout the growing season.  In other words, make sure when one plant is done blooming, another plant is just beginning, providing choice nectar from spring until fall.  Because butterflies have a mouth similar to a drinking straw, they prefer easy access to nectar.  Unlike Hummingbirds, butterflies do not hover above plants but rather land on them, so sturdy stemmed plants with flat center discs seem to be the perfect platform for dining.  Coneflowers, Zinnias, Marigolds, Cosmos, Asters and Black-eyes Susans are perfect examples.  Other plants with clusters of small flowers, like Butterfly Weed, Butterfly Bush, Alyssum, Mint and Phlox are good choices as well.  Most butterflies seem to favor pink, lavender and purple flowers, but some varieties will visit other colors.  Butterflies have an exceptional sense of smell and seem to be attracted to heavily scented flowers.  Heirloom and old-fashioned varieties tend to be heavily perfumed.

Butterfly gardening is not only a means of attracting these beauties, but it can be a way to preserve their populations.  Seems like a win-win!

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~Irish Blessing

And for all you Mother’s out there, we at Sweeney’s wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney