As we settle into the winter months, it is time to temporarily say goodbye to our Butterflies, the free flying invertebrate encounter will reopen EASTER 2023.
Owl Butterfly Species
How to Create a Butterfly Garden
If you want to add some colour to your garden, why not create a butterfly garden?
A butterfly garden is an environment designed to attract butterflies, as well as certain moths. It is also designed to allow butterflies to lay eggs and also to feed caterpillars. Basically, the garden must be appealing to the whole life-cycle of a butterfly!
You need to have plants that attract both butterflies and caterpillars, not just focus on the one!
Lots of colour will attract butterflies!
Never use pesticide because butterflies are a type of insect!
A nice sunny area is required for the plants that butterflies are attracted to!
Plant Flowers that produce Nectar
Nectar is a sweet fluid produced by the flower and butterflies love it! It encourages bees and butterflies to pollinate. Purple, pink and yellow coloured blossoms seem to be preferred by Irish butterflies. Clusters of short, tubular flowers or flat-topped blossoms provide the ideal shapes for butterflies to easily land on and feed. Flowers with “double flowers” i.e. more petals should be avoided as the nectar is harder to reach.
Ensure Continuous Blossom Throughout the Season
Butterflies are active from early spring until late autumn. Plant a selection of flowers that will provide nectar throughout the entire season e.g. spring – Hesperis, summer – Buddleia, autumn – Sedum.
Add Caterpillar Host Plant
Caterpillars only eat specific kinds of plants. Female butterflies usually lay eggs on or near the plants their caterpillars prefer to eat. If the desired food plants are not available, the butterflies will not lay eggs, or the caterpillars will starve rather than eat another type of leaf.
Add Perches to Your Garden
Place flat stones in your garden as butterflies enjoy siting in the sun and often land on stones, bare soil or vegetation to bask. Similar to reptiles, basking raises their body temperature, so they are able to fly and remain active.
Use an alternative to Pesticides
Butterflies are affected by most pesticides used in the garden. Using biological methods will get rid of the pests without killing butterflies.
Make a little spa for your butterfly by placing shallow dishes or pans with damp sand in the sunny spots of your garden. Butterflies love puddling which means hanging out in damp mud and sand and drinking a bit of water.