Attract Beautiful Butterflies

Apr 06, 2012 Comments Off by
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How To Attract Beautiful Butterflies

To Your Garden


Thank you Michelle Salter for your article.


Anyone with a garden of any size, or even a window box, can attract butterflies; all you need are a few good nectar plants and perhaps the ability to ignore a few weeds and wild flowers.

There are approximately 70 species of butterfly to be found in the UK, and about 360 varieties in the whole of Europe. Only 25 types will find their way into gardens, the rest preferring wild meadows and other natural environments.

Nevertheless, the ones that do visit our gardens are some of the most beautiful and colourful, including the Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Comma and Holly Blue.

When a butterfly emerges from the pupa it goes in search of nectar, the sugar-rich drink, that provides it with the instant energy needed for flight. But not all flowers are equally attractive; they need to be able to draw a butterfly in with their colour and scent, as well as storing their nectar where it can be easily reached.

The Brimstone is one of the first butterflies to appear, feeding on early spring flowers such as primrose, bluebell, blackthorn and cowslip. Although both male and female have an identifying small orange spot on each wing, the male Brimstone is the easiest to spot, with its vivid yellow wings.

Blue and pink flowers are particularly attractive to butterflies, as are traditional cottage garden plants such as Sweet William, honeysuckle and Michaelmas daisy.

The Holly Blue is partial to both holly and ivy, and as it emerges earlier than other blue butterflies, its sky blue wings make it easy to identify. In spring it can be seen fluttering over holly, but by late summer it will have moved on to ivy.

Native plants are of greater value to nectar feeding insects than some cultivated varieties, which can be low in nectar and pollen. When selecting flowering plants try to choose single-petalled varieties. Modern hybrids with multiple layers of petals may look very pretty, but they are less attractive to insects as the additional petals have replaced their nectaries.

Native trees and shrubs have the largest number of dependent species, and tall trees like birch and willow, not to mention cabbages and currant bushes, are all common food sources.

The more food-plants there are in a garden the more species it can potentially support. So if you can bear to leave a wild patch of rough ground, then bramble, dandelions, thistles and nettles will all help to play a part in establishing a wild colony.



The Buddleia is famous for attracting a wide variety of butterflies and has become known as the butterfly bush. Hebe and ice plant are also popular, and to entice butterflies to your borders try planting red valerian, yellow alyssum, lobelia or sweet rocket.


Fruit trees and bushes are also tempting food for butterflies, especially if you leave a few apples or plums to rot on the ground. Red Admirals, with their distinctive red band and white spots, are drawn to fermenting fruits.


Lavender, thyme, mint and marjoram are all popular food sources for a number of butterflies. And Garlic Mustard, or Jack In the Hedge, as it is sometimes known, is a favourite of the Orange Tip.

Michelle Salter – Freelance Writer and Copywriter.

Michelle Salter is an accomplished freelance writer, with numerous articles published in national magazines. As a regular contributor to My Weekly magazine, she has written extensively on the subject of gardening, nature and wildlife.

She is also an experienced copywriter, producing copy that connects clients to their customers.

Further details of her work can be found at

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