Did you know that there are thousands of different species of butterflies? Species commonly seen in Maine include the Red Admiral, Monarch, Mourning Cloak, and White Admiral.
If you'd like to see more of these lovely creatures, consider creating a butterfly garden in your own backyard. Our real estate agents have seen a few of these gardens, and they can be truly magnificent. Here are the basic steps to follow to create your own on your property.
- Step 1: Select the Right Spot
As long as you plant flowers that butterflies like, you should see some of them in your backyard. But to attract the most butterflies, you should carefully select the location for your butterfly garden.
Choose a spot that gets plenty of sun — at least 5 or 6 hours a day. This gives the butterflies a place to sunbathe, and it also ensures your flowers grow healthily. Also, make sure the garden is far away from any spots that are sprayed with pesticides. For example, if you know your neighbor treats their lawn for pests, locate your butterfly garden as far from their property as possible. Butterflies are very sensitive to pesticides.
- Step 2: Create a Windbreak
Butterflies can't perch well in windy spots. So, you'll want to give your butterfly garden some shelter from the wind. You could plant some shrubs to block prevailing winds or even surround the garden with large rocks. Planting butterfly bushes around your garden is an excellent choice. The bushes will serve as a windbreak, and they'll attract butterflies.
If you live in a really windy area, you may want to put up a fence near your butterfly garden to block some wind. Make sure it's a solid fence. Solid wood and vinyl fences tend to work well.
- Step 3: Provide a Water Source
Butterflies don't necessarily need water because they get fluid when they drink plant nectar and dew. However, offering a water source will help your garden attract more butterflies during dry spells. You could simply sink a small ceramic dish into the garden and fill it up periodically. Or, you could set up a birdbath. Birds may visit it, but so will butterflies.
If you want to go above and beyond, set up one dish with saltwater and another with fresh water. Sometimes butterflies need salt in their diets, so the saltwater will attract them.
- Step 4: Select Your Plants
The most important part of designing a butterfly garden is selecting the right plants. Overall, you want plants that have a long flowering season, thrive in the sun, and provide plenty of nectar.
One good flower to include is Black-Eyed Susans. These bright orange and yellow flowers self-seed, so they come back year after year. Zinnias are another great choice. They grow up to four feet tall, but you'll have to replant them yearly as they are annuals.
Planting flowers in a variety of colors will make your garden be more attractive to butterflies. Consider including some bright blue-purple asters or some purple coneflowers. Local nurseries carry all these flowers, and we see them often at Augusta homes for sale.
Once your butterfly garden is established, all you have to do is maintain it. Water it often to keep the flowers healthy and the water bowls full. Fertilize your soil occasionally, and avoid using any sort of pesticides.
If you're new to the area and looking for the perfect yard to start your butterfly garden, don't hesitate to contact us. Our agents are happy to help.