Butterflies are much more than just beautiful insects. They have a special lifecycle that is important for many insects. When you think of butterflies, you probably imagine the beautiful, colourful and fragile creatures in front of you. They flutter happily through the garden from spring onwards. But when was the last time a butterfly fluttering around your flowers?
Right! Butterflies are becoming less common, especially in our gardens. Fortunately, you can do something about it!
A butterfly is not only beautiful but also good for nature. Did you know that a butterfly can smell nectar from a long distance? With its tongue, a butterfly likes to enjoy the sweet nectar. Then she flies to another flower to taste the nectar.
Because a butterfly flies from one flower to another, it pollinates the flowers. From this process other new flowers can grow!
Eating or being eaten
Besides the fact that butterflies are very good for healthy pieces of nature and flowers, they are also important for many life cycles.
A butterfly itself enjoys nectar, and a caterpillar especially likes leaves. Yet caterpillars and butterflies are also food for other animals. No matter how beautiful they are, so is nature. And that’s a good thing!
Nature in balance
Often we only see one butterfly in our garden. This is because most gardens don’t have ‘host plants’. What? Yes, host plants. These are plants and flowers on which the butterfly depends. They can’t live without them. And more importantly, these plants and flowers are used by the butterfly to be able to reproduce themselves.
Butterflies lay eggs on host plants, so that the caterpillars can eat from the leaves. Caterpillars can also hide in these host plants and grow into real butterflies. Once they have emerged, they can taste sweet nectar for the first time on host plants.
The place where many butterflies flutter, and therefore where many host plants can be found, is a healthy piece of nature. What if host plants were to become extinct? Then the butterfly will also die out by itself.
Starting your own butterfly garden
Do you want to help the nature? Then start your own butterfly garden full of host plants! With only three types of plants and flowers you can get achieve a lot. Make sure the plants are big enough. However, one large stinging nettle doesn’t produce hordes of butterflies.
- Large (and small) nettle: this plant attracts the peacock butterfly, small tortoiseshell and the map.
- Coal species and other crucifers: think of the damask flower, rapeseed and the East Indian cherry. The large and small Cabbage White are attracted to these types of cabbage.
- Dirt tree and maple: this is where the common brimstone and the holly blue come in.
Have you planted your own bedding for butterflies? Then we’ll have to wait and see! It is possible that not many butterflies pass by in the first year. This is a process. Be patient and wait quietly.