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Your Guide to Butterfly Gardening

A Family Walks the Butterfly Garden at Epcot

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Spending time in nature is a great way to relax, rejuvenate and practice mindfulness — the art of living in the moment. One great way to enjoy nature’s beauty is by visiting or creating a butterfly garden. It’s also fun for the whole family.

What is a Butterfly Garden?

A butterfly garden is, simply put, a garden that attracts local butterflies. These gardens are not only beautiful, but they also promote butterfly health and conservation. In addition to bees, butterflies are major pollinators, and having them in your garden encourages the environment’s well-being.

EPCOT® International Flower and Garden Festival

From now until May 27, for a serene activity away from home, you can visit Butterfly Landing, presented by AdventHealth at the EPCOT® International Flower and Garden Festival, included with the purchase of an EPCOT® ticket.

As you walk through Butterfly Landing, take a moment to notice all the living things around you, from the smallest butterfly to the tallest tree. The plants and flowers included here are specially selected to attract and nourish butterflies.

To enjoy this experience regularly, you can create your own butterfly habitat in your yard to attract butterflies — as well as hummingbirds and bees — all season long.

5 Tips for Building Your Own Butterfly Garden

Building a butterfly garden is fairly simple once you understand what makes a thriving butterfly environment. The following are some tips to get you started in the right direction:

1. Pick a Sunny Location for Your Garden

Ideally, choose a spot in your yard with full sun, especially in the morning, for your butterfly garden, as butterflies need between six to eight hours of sunlight to thrive. The sun serves to warm up these cold-blooded creatures’ wings and bodies each morning, making it easier to fly.

2. Choose Flowers That Attract Butterflies

If you want to attract a variety of butterflies to your yard, you should include a variety of plants, keeping these tips in mind:

  • Butterflies enjoy feeding from small clusters of flowers
  • Large butterflies like large, flat flowers to land on
  • Smaller butterflies are unable to reach the nectar in deep flowers

Consider planting a mix of annuals and perennials so your butterfly garden can be in bloom longer throughout the season. Some great options include coneflowers, petunias, zinnias and lavender.

3. Add Plants for Caterpillars

Butterflies need plants for every stage of life, so it’s important to include ideal plants for caterpillars as well. Some of a butterfly caterpillar’s favorite host plants include:

  • Aster flowers
  • Butterfly weed and other plants in the milkweed family
  • Herbs like dill, fennel and parsley
  • Passionflowers
  • Sweet peas

4. Offer Alternative Food Sources

In addition to the nectar from flowers, you can take it one step further and place additional food sources in your butterfly garden area. Butterflies enjoy:

  • Clear sports drinks
  • Fruit juice or the liquid from canned fruit
  • Overripe fruit, including apples, bananas, peaches and pears
  • Sugar water

These sweet additions will also help nourish butterflies once your flowers are past the blooming stage.

5. Have a Water Source

Including a water source, known as a puddling station in the butterfly gardeners' community, in your butterfly garden is important, as butterflies seek these shallow water spots as a source for drinking water throughout the day. An easy, low-cost way to create a puddling station in your garden is by filling a shallow dish with water and coarse sand or pebbles.

Enjoying Nature and Benefiting Your Health

No matter how you choose to enjoy it, we encourage you to spend some time outdoors reflecting and relaxing in nature with your family this season.

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