There are 59 different types of butterfly in the UK, but due to habitat loss, changing weather patterns and pollutions their numbers are unfortunately declining. With Spring just around the corner, now is the perfect time to give your garden a little spruce and give butterflies a lovely little haven. Just imagine, you're sat in your garden eating breakfast with your Sophie Allport butterflies mug in one hand, flowers blossoming around you and butterflies delicately fluttering from flower to flower.
Introduce some butterfly-friendly flowers and plants
When it comes to planting for butterflies, it's essential to remember that they feed on nectar, so planting some nectar-rich flowers is the first step to encouraging them into your garden.
Choose a sunny spot which is sheltered from the wind and plant colourful flowers like lavender, primrose and bluebells. Butterflies especially love a buddleia also known as the butterfly bush, which is very easy to grow but can spread and become quite intrusive, if you have a small garden we’d recommend keeping a buddleia in a pot, just so it doesn’t take over your whole garden.
Pick a variety of flowers, trees and shrubs for your garden as this will help attract butterflies throughout the season, from spring to autumn. Spring flowers will help with adult butterflies come out of hibernation, whereas, autumn flowers can help them prepare for winter. Some garden plants, herbs, wildflowers, bushes and flowers recommended for butterflies:
- Pussy willow
- Verbena bonariensis
- Ivy blossom
- Perennial wallflower
- Sweet rocket
- Michaelmas daisy
Provide plenty of sunlight and shelter from the wind
Butterflies love sunny days, they are ectothermic, which means they are cold-blooded and can’t regulate their body temperatures so they rely on keeping warm from basking in the sun so they can function.
Think about how the sunlight hits your garden and which areas get the most sunlight throughout the day, try planting your nectar-rich flowers in the areas that are exposed to full sun. If these areas are also sheltered from the wind then great, if not try creating some shelter by either planting taller shrubs or using a windbreak.
Maintain and keep your flowers healthy
Keep your flowers and plants as healthy as possible by deadheading regularly and using organic compost. It’s also important to keep your plants well-watered as this can affect the supply of nectar too. Avoid using pesticides as these are harmful to butterflies and other insects, and just be careful of any plants you buy from garden centres as they may have been previously treated with something harmful.
Create some puddles
Butterflies and moths need somewhere to drink, and they usually get their water by drinking from muddy puddles where they can also get minerals too. They can’t use birdbaths or fountains so creating a puddled area will help attract them and complete a butterfly habitat. To create your own puddling site, simply sink a bucket or tub into the ground and fill it with sand, then each day hose down and wet to create a puddle.
Without caterpillars, we wouldn’t have any butterflies, which is why it’s also important to support and encourage their growth. Think about including plants for caterpillars in your garden too. Larvae tend to feed on weeds, stinging nettles, mixed grasses, holly and thistles, which are usually cleared away by gardeners. Try letting your garden be wild around the edges to encourage and support caterpillars but try to keep these areas away from any bird feeders or birdbaths.
If you are encouraging butterflies into your garden, then why not introduce our new butterflies design into your home too. The lovely new design is bright and beautiful and features on a range of kitchen linens and home accessories, as well as fine bone china and bags.
Do you attract any butterflies or wildlife into your garden? We’d love to hear about your little havens.