Se7en Tips for Gardening for Butterflies…

The season is changing. There is a definite sense that things are warming up and we know that there is still a lot of wintery spells still to come… and there are caterpillars everywhere… furry, colourful, spikey,… dozens of caterpillars.


Anyway we have been hoping to spot butterflies… some of us are very optimistic about all this… we have been reading this book about how to attract butterflies into our garden…

Gardening for Butterflies by Steve Woodall and Lindsay Gray published by Struik Nature:

There are so many gems of wisdom in this book, it is packed with all sorts of things that you can do in your garden to attract butterflies into it, and I am sure that along with the butterflies a whole host of other interesting visitors will be stopping by and calling your garden home. This is a good thing, greening little patches of the environment, one by one… can only improve our natural habitats and the biodiversity around our homes. The book covers different biomes of gardens in South Africa and different types of gardens… and suggests very specific types of plants you can use to make your garden more attractive to butterflies. There is a chapter on the life cycle of butterflies and their feeding habits and then it goes on to list almost a hundred butterflies… a page spread for each of them, with clear and detailed photographs each life stage and packed with suggestions that would make your garden more attractive to them. It is a fascinating read and my kids have been pouring over it. I feel a new enthusiasm for garden projects over the next little while as we learnt that there are quite a few things that we can do to make our garden more hospitable to butterflies, easy and doable projects.


Se7en Simple Steps to Improving Your Garden for Butterflies

  1. Create wide open spaces.
  2. Butterflies are attracted to nectar plants.
  3. Fill your garden with a variety of textures, and layers.
  4. Rocks with morning sun, they like to warm up on them.
  5. They like muddy patches.
  6. Your garden needs areas that have been left to go wild.
  7. Areas that provide shelter.
  8. Feature plants for the butterflies to perch on.


Pocket Guide: Butterflies of South Africa bu Steve Woodall published by Struik Nature:

Meanwhile my team of butterfly enthusiasts have been working their way through the Pocket Guide… It’s a great guide that is small and light and fits in their backpacks no problem. It is has a section on tips for identifying the butterflies: size, shape, colour, markings, behaviour and distribution… not to mention how the pupas look and similar species… what months of the year you will find them. More than 250 butterflies are on display in this book. So much information has been put into this book, but it is carefully displayed and very easy to use, even for junior users who are looking to improve their nature notebooks.



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We would like to thank Struik Nature and Penguin Random House for the books, that they provided for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post and all opinions expressed are as usual entirely our own.

11 Replies to “Se7en Tips for Gardening for Butterflies…”

  1. Well, how fun to find that we have checked off most of the criteria for butterfly visitors however unintentionally! Our weather is changing too of course and there are butterflies and dragonflies everywhere here by the dozens! Our favorite is the black and yellow swallowtail.

    Enjoy your butterfly investigations/observations!

  2. Hay Christi, turns out we have a whole lot of things sorted for a butterfly garden too… rocks with morning sun and heaps of areas that have totally been abandoned we have no problem with… We do want to create a muddy patch for them. My guys are really looking forward to that!!! Thanks for the comment and hope you have a wonderful day!!!

  3. A is in the Butterfly team at Voortrekkers and we were privilege to enjoy a morning with the Lepidoptera society at the Botanical gardens last year. It was magic to see them pointing out the little eggs and caterpillars and how they caught and released the butterflies so that we could look at them

  4. Wow Cat, that sounds like the most amazing outing… it makes such a difference to visit places with someone who knows what they are doing. I have found that we can look at things and just not see them until someone, who knows, points them out!!! Wonderful… hope you have a fabulous day!!!

  5. We have different species here, but the principles are the same.
    As I shifted our garden to be butterfly-friendly (which happens to be more kid-friendly too!) I found it took a year or two for the butterflies to find us. Every year we see more than the year before. So don’t give up if it doesn’t “work” right away! 🙂

  6. Oh Emily, that is a great tip… thank you I am so glad that you mentioned that… I can imagine a fair bit of disillusionment. However everyone is keen – especially about leaving areas wild, that part we do quite well!!! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend!!!

  7. K loves butterflies when she is a tad bit older this would be such fun for her… I like butterflies but I don’t know much about them so I guess I have lots of learning to do

  8. MrsFF, I thought I knew about butterflies… but after reading this book I was so inspired to see that there is really lots we can do to encourage them to visit our garden… it was a lovely surprise!!! And high time we got out there and did something useful!!!

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