How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden With a Puddle Club Party
Attract Gorgeous Guests to Your Garden
A group of butterflies is called a kaleidoscope, swarm or rabble.
Recently I learned that planting the flowers butterflies like best isn’t the only thing it takes to be a good host to these beautiful garden visitors.
Providing a source of water for them is important, too.
Butterflies avoid spraying or dripping water because it can damage their wings. But many species love mud puddles. In fact, groups of butterflies often congregate on shallow water. It's a beautiful thing to see! There, they sip water as well as ingest nutrients from the wet soil.
If you'd like to host a puddle club party for butterflies in your garden, here are five easy ways to attract lots of gorgeous guests.
In her book , Sally Roth recommends this sand puddle project as a means of providing a relatively long-lasting shallow water source for butterflies: Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to Your Backyard
- Bury a plastic or metal lid so that a little of the rim is exposed.
- Fill the lid with half sand, half soil. (Including a bit of manure will make it even more attractive to butterflies.)
- Smooth out the soil mixture, making a depression in the center that is about two inches deep.
- Saturate the soil with water.
- Repeat as needed to keep the material moist.
My Version of the Sandy Puddle
Empty Bottle Puddles
When a rabble of butterflies gathers on shallow water, it's called a puddle club.
Another interesting way to provide water for butterflies in your garden is by using empty bottles.
Bury upside-down bottles with large concave bottoms along the edges of your butterfly garden or in other open locations where butterflies can easily land.
Then spray the bottle bottoms with a garden hose. Water will collect in the dimpled bottoms at the perfect depth for a butterfly puddle.
Because I didn't have any equipment with which to cut off the wine and sherry bottles I'd collected, I simply dug a deep hole and buried all but the very tops of the bottles. A rubber mallet was helpful in making the bottle bottoms level.
Some Words for Talking about Butterflies
A group of butterflies on a puddle
The attraction of butterflies to wet spots
A group of butterflies
Another name for a group of butterflies
Another common name for a group of butterflies
More Snapshots from Our Butterfly GardenClick thumbnail to view full-size
Our Butterfly Garden
We grow a variety of herbs, herbaceous perennials and annuals to attract butterflies to our yard. Here's a partial list:
Do you grow plants to attract butterflies?
- apple mint
- bee balm
- butterfly bush
- butterfly weed
- golden alexanders
- purple cone flower
- shasta daisies
Many of plants listed above are favorites with other pollinators as well, including bees and hummingbirds.
Rocky Water Pot Bottoms
This butterfly water source is super easy to make.
Simply fill a flowerpot tray with gravel or pebbles and then add water, leaving the tops of the rocks uncovered so that butterflies can perch on them as they sip.
Place the tray in an open spot where butterflies can easily land. Refresh the water occasionally as it evaporates.
In the video below, a puddle club meets on the muddy bank of a stream in India.
Brick & Sidewalk Puddles
Here's an even easier way to create a source of shallow water that will attract a puddle club.
Simply hose down a sunny brick or concrete patio or sidewalk. Then, rather than sweep away the excess water, allow it to puddle on the rough surface.
Mud Puddles & Muddy Ground
Another super simple idea for attracting butterflies?
Water empty spots in your garden to create mud puddles. Not only will the puddles attract puddle clubs, but they'll attract other wildlife as well, including birds and dragonflies.
© 2014 Jill Spencer