Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds

Gardening Tips
Hummingbird Garden Flower

Butterflies and hummingbirds can commonly be seen all over America. If you want to have a more colorful garden, you can invite butterflies and hummingbirds by providing favorable conditions for these animals. To attract butterflies and hummingbirds, you need to plant flowering plants in your garden. These plants are great food sources for these animals, so they will sure invite them to your garden.

Butterflies and hummingbirds will sure make your garden more colorful. To attract them, all you need to do is to provide a good food source. Other favorable conditions, such as sun and shelter, can also help you attract these beautiful animals.

How to Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds?

It's not so difficult to attract colorful butterflies and busy hummingbirds to your garden. All you need to know is how to create favorable conditions for these animals. The easiest thing to do is to plant several varieties of flowering plants. These plants are these animals' favorite food sources.

To attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, it's important to know how these animals sense a potential food source. Butterflies are attracted to food through scents. Certain flowering plants have a special fragrance that butterflies find very attractive. This signals them that the plants in question are full of delicious nectar butterflies can eat. Hummingbirds, on the other hand, are guided by visual means. They are attracted to certain shades of red, so red-colored flowers are their favorites. This color signals a hummingbird that the plant is full of delicious nectar.

As much as butterflies and hummingbirds benefit from this nectar, so do plants. Plants are being pollinated with the help of the insects (though it's a bit less clear how they benefit from hummingbirds).

Knowing all of this, it's clear that you need to provide a good food source in the form of flowering plants if you want your garden to be full of butterflies and hummingbirds.

How to Prepare Your Garden

The best thing to do is to plant flowering perennials in your garden. Also, some annual plants are also a good source of nectar. When choosing plants for your garden, make sure to stick to plants known for their nectar. It's also a good thing to pick at least some plants with red flowers - these will sure attract hummingbirds.

When choosing a location, it's best to plant flowering plants in a location that gets full sun for most of the day. Butterflies and hummingbirds adore the warm sun so they are more likely to visit sunny gardens. Also, they tend to be more attracted to plants in the full sun. There are many flowering plants with sweet nectar that thrive in the full sun, so it won't be difficult to find a perfect match for the sunny part of your garden.

When you plant those flowering plants, be prepared to wait a little until butterflies and hummingbirds discover your garden. Keep in mind that these animals spend the winter in warmer climates, so don't expect them to visit your garden until the weather warms up. You can usually see them appearing around May.

Usually, you will see some activity as soon as the plants start to flower. This is when butterflies and hummingbirds will discover your garden. Sometimes, they are very quick to find the flowers. It's not unusual for hummingbirds to discover a fuchsia basket only a few minutes after you hang it up outside.

Additional Tips

  • It's possible that you might not see much activity in the first season. Don't give up. Enjoy the flowers and wait for the next year.
  • Be as quiet as possible to not disturb the animals. Don't make any sudden moves: this might scare the butterflies and hummingbirds.
  • There are some things that might keep butterflies and hummingbirds away. Pets (dogs and cats) may prevent hummingbirds from visiting your garden. Too wet and rainy weather makes butterflies less active. Another reason might be the lack of nesting sites (trees, shrubs). Hummingbirds are more likely to visit a garden with lots of shrubs and trees.
  • Butterflies start their lives as caterpillars. Caterpillars are not attractive, but don't kill them: remember, you won't have any butterflies if you kill them while they are in the caterpillar stage. Embrace the caterpillars and welcome them to your garden. It means more butterflies for you! For the same reason, don't use strong insecticides in your garden: they may kill the caterpillars. To encourage caterpillars, give them enough food source in your garden, so they will stay and once day your garden will be full of butterflies.
  • Never catch the butterflies! Remember, butterflies are for looking only. Don't catch them. Each one you catch won't have a chance to reproduce and make a new generation. This is why it's much better to simply enjoy butterflies and hummingbirds in your garden, but don't disturb them. Let them live and enjoy your garden so they can bring color to your home for a long time.

Photo credit: Steve Corey

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