Green Lifestyle

Published on November 22nd, 2019 | by Scott Cooney


How to Start a Successful Butterfly Garden and Help Pollinators!

There is something inherently peaceful about sitting in your backyard, sipping a mug of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and turning your head to see a variety of butterflies enjoying the butterfly garden you’ve created for them. These delicate but extremely strong creatures inspire us to be the same; delicate but strong all at the same time.

Thanks to changing habitats from human intervention; with logging and development destroying multiple homes where butterflies would spend their time resting, eating and procreating – there is more than one species of butterflies that is currently on the verge of extinction or at the very least, endangered. It is for this reason that is important to offer the butterflies in your area a relaxing and safe environment to rest, refuel and just be.

Therefore, today we are going to discuss how to start a butterfly garden in your backyard. You don’t need to install an entirely new garden if you have an existing one in the backyard but instead you can just make some additions to make it a butterfly garden.

Step One: Choose Your Area

There are two very important things to look for when you are deciding where to plant your butterfly garden: sunlight and protection. The ideal location will have plenty of sunlight as this energy is what butterflies will store for regulating their own body temperature. They will also draw on this stored energy to complete their daily tasks such as foraging and flying.

The ideal location will also be protected and sheltered from the wind as the harsh gusts could damage the miniscule feathers that line the back of the butterfly which enable them to fly. Cold temperatures from winds can also have a damaging effect on their internal systems.

Step Two: Determine What Plants You Will Have in Your Garden

Now that you have determined the location where you plan to create your butterfly garden; you need to determine what plants you will have in your garden as certain ones offer certain benefits to the butterfly population.

While some of these plants might already be in your garden beds, most of them will not be. If you do not have the room in your garden beds for these new plants, you can place them in strategic locations around the beds in colorful planters and boxes. Make sure that the plants and flowers you chose offer nectar, as this is butterflies favorite source of nutrients. Think wild bergamot, black-eyed Susan, Canadian goldenrod (check with your local nursery for more plant types).

You will need to complete maintenance on your butterfly plants, whether they are in your garden beds or they are in planters, meaning you want to ensure that the tools in your arsenal will reduce the strain of gardening from the body.

Have a pair of sturdy gardening gloves to protect the hands from exposure to thorns, bacteria and whatnot along with a padded kneeling pad to protect your knees from the amount of time spent in the same position. You will also want a pair of pruning shears to tame unruly plants, trim back low-hanging branches on your trees that block the sunlight and to remove the bulk from your shrubs along with other greenery. Click to find out the best ones at

Step Three: Additional Things to Put into Your Butterfly Garden

Butterflies do not drink water in the same manner as most creatures as instead of drinking from standing pools or running streams; they get their water intake from a shallow source of water such as a pool or wet sand. Use an old pan, birdbath or similar object to offer your butterflies a constant source of water. Line the bottom of the container with sand and lightly coat it with water until it is completely soaked through.

Place flat rocks around the garden bed containing the butterfly’s favorite plants as these rocks will absorb the sun and create the perfect bed for your butterflies to rest, regain energy and hang out.


Regardless if you want to install a brand-new garden or you want to add-on to your existing garden; a butterfly garden is not only good for the environment, but it is good for the soul. Butterflies are an important part of nature’s food chain and they can act as both a predator (for plant life) and the prey (for other animals such as birds).

They play a part in the natural selection of the wild and without them; numerous other creatures would not be able to get the nutrients they require to maintain their habits and habitats. The other bonus is that it is just plain relaxing, soothing and wonderful to see butterflies hanging out in your garden, playing, refueling, resting and more.

With a little bit of physical effort, a detailed and checked list of plants that you should have in your garden for most butterflies and moths, and of course, the time to complete this garden – you can be sitting in paradise surrounded by the sounds, smells and sights of nature within a short period of time.

Royalty and credit-free image courtesy of Pixabay

Get the Green Living Ideas book in softcover or PDF for as low as $2.99!

Please follow and like us:

Tags: , , ,

About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

Back to Top ↑

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial