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How You Can Help Butterflies Thrive In Your Garden In A Few Easy Steps

Published on July 21st 2021

Orange-tip Butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines)

by Adrian Coleman. 1271538357

A close up of an orange tip butterfly on a green leaf with some white flowers
There are 59 species of butterfly in the UK, around 20 of which can be found fluttering around our gardens.
It’s this time of the year where typically, these insects are most abundant. Although, you might have noticed this not to be the case in recent years.
According to Butterfly Conservation, butterfly numbers have been declining for the last four decades.
Although our gardens might not be suitable for all butterfly species, our gardens can provide habitat, refuge and breeding sites for wildlife if we put some thought behind what we grow and how we design our outside spaces.
You can learn more about the common garden butterflies below:

5 UK Butterflies to introduce to Children


A close up of a flower

How to Identify the Top Ten Most Common British Butterflies


The Big Butterfly Count 2021

Running between the 16th of July to the 8th of August, the Big Butterfly Count challenges participants to count as many butterflies as possible in 15 minutes. All you need to take part is the downloadable butterfly chart, paper and pencil, and, yourself! All that's left is to choose a sunny day to kick back in the garden, relax and count!
Remember, even if you see no butterflies, it's still important you report your findings to Butterfly Conservation.
To get you ready for the Big Butterfly Count this month, we’ve thrown together a quick guide on how to create a paradise for butterflies (and other insects!) in your back garden.

8 Easy Steps For Creating A Butterfly Sanctuary In Your Garden

Step #1 - Keep Butterflies Fed With A Diversity Of Nectar-rich Flowers

The truth is, there are many plants to choose from when planting for butterflies and pollinators. A plus to planting for butterflies is that you’ll be supporting moths, bees, hoverflies and other insects too!

Plants for Pollinators

Here are our top 6 plants for butterflies in July:

1. Buddleja

Buddleja Butterfly Bush Plants

2. Verbena
A close up of a flower

Shop Verbena

3. Hebe

Hebe now know as Veronica Collection

Please note some plants in the Hebe genus have now been reclassified as Veronica
4. Aster
5. Lavender

Shop Lavender plants

6. Achillea
A close up of a flower

Shop Achillea

7. Salvia
A close up of a flower

Shop Salvia

8. Wildflowers seed mixes

Own a garden that supports butterflies and looks the part too, with decorative pots and containers.

Step #2 The Importance Of Host Plants

So after you’ve planted your pollinator-friendly flowers, what’s next?
Host plants are plants that an insect or animal eats and lives off. A butterfly has four stages in its life cycle: egg, larva (or caterpillar), chrysalis and of course, the adult butterfly! For the most resourceful habitat that is a haven for butterflies, it's important we support all stages of the life cycle.
Every butterfly has a favourite plant on which they lay their eggs, for example, the Comma Butterfly will lay its eggs on Currants, Elm, Hop and Willow, whereas a Painted Lady butterfly will lay her eggs on Thistle plants.
Plant these to attract a variety of butterflies to your garden:

Step #3 - Provide Shelter

All wildlife requires shelter; to forage, to escape predators and extreme weather, to rest and to mate. You might already have shelter in your garden and not know it, but if you don’t, shrubs, trees and climbing plants make excellent refuges for wildlife.
Pink clematis plants climbing a garden wall next to a painted green fence

Step #4 - Provide A Water Source For Puddling Butterflies

Some butterflies will extract nutrients from the earth by drinking the water of muddy puddles. This is a phenomenon known as puddling. You can easily create a spot for butterflies to puddle in your garden by filling a plastic container with water, pebbles, rocks, and earth. Ponds can also provide a place for butterflies to puddle - just make sure you add some rocks in shaded and sunny spots for butterflies to rest and enjoy.

Step #5 - Plant A Fruit Tree

Butterflies love to drink the juices of over-ripened fruits! During fall, leave some fruits on the ground for butterflies. If you don’t have a fruit tree, you can leave out fruit in a sunny, dry spot. Soft plums, cut up pieces of orange, or mushy bananas are all firm favourites.

Step #6 - Refrain From Using Pesticides

Pesticides are toxic to butterflies and insects. Their use should be avoided in the garden if possible. There are other, more friendly ways to control garden pests.
Find out how you can get rid of pests in a more eco-friendly way below:

Step #7 - Provide A Butterfly House

The local butterflies might use a butterfly house in the garden to hibernate. They won’t always be adopted so easily, as it depends on whether you have the right kind of garden, i.e. habitat, for the species of a butterfly moving in.
Garden accessories for bees:

Step #8 - Get The Younger Family Members Involved In The Butterfly Count

Butterfly watching can be an enjoyable and relaxing experience, especially for little ones. Why not leave out some fruit and watch the butterflies together one sunny summer day?

Want to create a garden wildlife sanctuary of your own? Shop the collection for high-quality plants and accessories, perfect for attracting wildlife into your garden.

A close up of a flower

The Wildlife Garden Collection

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