We all know that butterflies, along with bees, are one of the biggest contributors to pollination. Butterflies speak the language of flowering plants, and they determine which flowers have nectar in them by their colors. Apparently, butterflies learn that flowers with yellow, red, pink or purple heads are rich in nectar. Your garden stands a much better chance of being lush and gorgeous if you have hordes of butterflies among your plants.
Pros of Farming Butterflies
No, it’s not about boasting butterflies to your guests when they arrive at your garden. Mainly, farming butterflies in natural vegetation creates cooperation between flowers. Butterflies pollinate and disperse seeds from flowers and plants like no other wildlife can. Enabling fertilization, they are breeders of new species of flowers.
While bees pollinate only in smaller areas, butterflies can fly to longer distances. Therefore, these species can travel a larger coverage to pollinate flowering plants to help them reproduce. Bees can only buzz from one flower to another; butterflies can glide and flit to and from flowers like they are performing a dance, using their legs, to collect and place pollens, seeds and nectars.
How to Properly Farm Butterflies
1. Choose local host plants.
Local host plants are those found to be growing abundantly in your region. Because they are suited with the temperature and humidity of the environment, these plants are most likely to grow healthily. It may be hard for you to fill the recommended size of 2000 square meters for your garden if you don’t use native plants. This area should be filled with flowering plants bordered by a thick hedge. In a butterfly garden, butterflies are more attracted to native flowers which they identify with similar nectars where they could feed on and lay eggs on.
Choosing your local host plants will require research work. You may ask greenhouse garden owners for their suggestions and look up to the Internet to print pictures of the plants you need. When you achieve the appropriate combination of host flowers, you will need less maintenance work and conserve more water in the long run.
2. Determine the right butterfly season.
Butterflies, unlike dogs and other animals, are not nurtured in every season and in every region. So you should identify the right season that butterflies best thrive in your area. The best thing you can do is to search for caterpillars on your plants. To be more knowledgeable, seek the advice of a caterpillar supplier and consider buying caterpillars that fit into your garden. For most parts in the world, the butterfly season is usually from late spring to summer. Take good care of the caterpillars until they bloom into wonderful butterflies.
3. Provide food for the butterflies.
When butterflies are newly emerged from being caterpillars, they will have to dry their crumpled wings first and pump off the fluid. You will notice this when they are already able to hop on to your finger using their legs. Note though that they will not eat for several hours. But you have to prepare their “baby food.” Instead of taking nectars of the flowers, most will prefer to take ripe fruits from hummingbird feeders.
4. Add butterfly accessories.
Butterfly accessories are not only for the sake of decorating your butterfly garden but also for keeping away birds which are natural predators of butterflies which also are destructive to the plants. The most commonly used accessory is the butterfly house which protects butterflies as well from strong winds and bad weather. To prolong the stay of the butterflies in your garden, add in flowers to supplement nectar source from where they can have food easier.
5. Don’t use pesticides.
Pesticides and insecticides contain chemical that are harmful for butterflies. These substances might be fatal for caterpillars and butterflies. Instead, opt to practice organic gardening for the ultimate butterfly paradise.
To quote K. D’Angelo, “No garden truly blooms until butterflies have danced upon it.” Butterflies know their fair share in the area of plants and flower pollination. They benefit your garden by making it more beautiful and more efficient in growing flowers. Develop a garden with colorful and fresh-smelling flowers to attract fluttering butterflies which can add life to your landscape.