I am doing my best to attact butterflies again this year, without doing a real true butterfly garden. I think I have the right plants and water. At a craft show in Winston Salem NC I saw really cute butterfly houses and thought they would make a nice project for Bob and a fun addition to my garden but I wondered if they really worked or were just something cute.
Here is an example:
I posted that question on our Greenville Newcomers message board and got this very helpful reply. I had never heard of “puddling tray” but will try it. We have a big piece of flat log that would be a perfect spot for this.
I am a Greenville Master Gardener and as of June 30th I will be the overseer of the Roper Mountain Science Center Butterfly Garden.
Butterfly houses do not work. Most of the time spiders and wasp type insect use them and they would eat any butterfly caterpillars.
As for feeding butterflies healthy and natural is best. Plant nectar
plants like butterfly bush, cone flower, “Miss Huff Lantana, Zinnias, phlox, sedum, milkweeds( Monarchs use this plant as their host plant, means the butterfly lays eggs on the plant and then the caterpillar eats the plant.) and Verbena Bonnariensis.
The other thing you can do to feed butterflies is to offer them a “puddling tray” This is a shallow dish with a mixture of top soil , sand and a little salt . Then just enough water to keep the mixture moist. Butterflies and bees will use this. It is a bit like offering Gatorade to the butterflies!