Natural butterfly habitats have been destroyed or affected by construction of housing and shopping developments, as well as by the use of pesticides and other chemicals. You can provide a suitable butterfly habitat that will help fortify the butterfly population, and as an added bonus, the habitat will bring you enjoyment in watching beautiful butterflies in your yard. The butterfly habitat should be relatively sunny (5-6 hours per day) and out of the wind. Butterflies can get their required nutrients and minerals from a mud puddle in a sunny area. A successful butterfly habitat will contain the plants favored by both caterpillars and butterflies. This means that you should include plants like Queen Anne’s Lace, violets, marigolds, and maybe even milkweed for the caterpillars to eat, since they are able to chew their food. In particular, monarch caterpillars eat milkweed because it makes them an unpleasant-tasting meal to predators. For the butterflies, which are able to suck and are unable to chew, you should include nectar plants with different colors of flowers, such as zinnias, lilacs, and the butterfly bush. Butterfly habitats should last all summer, meaning that you should select plants that bloom at different times so that something is always blooming. You might be able to take inspiration in your planting selections from a butterfly garden or inside a butterfly house if you are lucky to live close enough to one of these carefully planned attractions. Often, landscapers and nursery employees will be able to advise you as to what possible additions to your butterfly habitat will grow well in your area.
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