Bob Vila Radio: Butterfly Gardens

Create a colorful oasis for butterflies by picking the right plants.

Watching a butterfly flit low above a garden is one of summer’s great delights. You can attract these delicate creatures and create a nurturing oasis for them by planting a butterfly garden.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Listen to BOB VILA ON BUTTERFLY GARDENS or read the text below:

Butterfly-Gardens

Photo: shutterstock.com

First, pick the right plants. Purple coneflowers and asters are both good butterfly-attractors, but different species of butterfly drink the nectar of different flowers. Find out what butterflies are common in your region so you can choose the right plants.

For greatest success, aim for a mix of flowers that will produce fresh blooms throughout the summer. You’ll also need host plants, which serve as sites for the butterflies to lay eggs and as food for the larvae. Clover and violets are hosts for some species, but again, research your area.

Butterflies need sun, so plant your garden in a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight each day. They also need shelter, so include a protected area where butterflies can lay eggs away from harsh winds, flat rocks where they can rest their wings, and water for hydration and important minerals.

Insecticides will kill larvae, so instead of spraying your entire garden, spot treat insect-infected plants.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.