Butterfly gardening is easy and rewarding. All it takes is providing a few simple things that butterflies (and generally speaking all pollinators) need: nectar and host plants, shelter and water.
Here are a few simple steps to help all the pollinators in your garden:
Eliminate or limit the use of pesticides. Organic is the way to go when you want to create a wildlife habitat of any sort. Organic pesticides still kill, so use judiciously, locally and only if you have a real problem. Nature has a way of sorting itself out, and after a year or two of doing things organically, you will notice a balance in your garden that will rarely require intervention.
Plant nectar and host plants. Choose a variety of native plants that will provide nectar at different times of the year, and don’t forget to add host plants. You can search for butterfly-friendly and host plants here.
Choose a sunny spot for your butterfly garden. Butterflies love warm and sunny areas since they are cold blooded and need to be able to warm up.
Provide a source of water. A shallow dish with just barely any water in the bottom and some flat rocks throughout would serve both as a water source and a spot where the butterflies can soak in the sun. You can add over-ripe fruit for their benefit as well.
Choose a somewhat sheltered spot, if possible, for your butterfly garden to protect them from the wind.
Butterflies prefer plant groupings to singular plants, so plant in drifts and provide a wide variety of plants.
Watching life in the garden is a never-ending source of joy. Happy gardening!