Butterfly Puddling

Bring butterflies to your garden by giving them access to puddles.

by Dani Yokhna
Butterflies puddle to extract minerals from puddles or moist soil.
Butterflies puddle to extract minerals from puddles or moist soil.

When thinking about how to attract wildlife to your farm garden, a great place to start the planning process is with butterflies. Butterflies are attracted to many different plants that you can put in your garden, but another way to host butterflies is by giving them opportunities to puddle.

When you see butterflies gathered around a mud puddle, they are drinking and taking in minerals. There are two easy ways to make a puddle.

For a small garden, simply use a large plastic plant saucer to hold your puddle. Dig a hole to bury the saucer so the rim is level with the ground. Fill the bottom half of the saucer with your native soil and top it off with rocks, not gravel. Pour water over the rocks, and wait for butterflies to converge. If you find an area of your garden often has butterflies, put your puddle there.

Another puddling feature you can add to your garden is a shallow creek bed. Achieve this by meandering a fake stream through a corner of your garden. Outline the area where you want the creek, then dig a shallow trench and line it with rubber pond liner. Fill the trench with a variety of different sized rocks to simulate a real stream, and fill it with water. The liner holds the water and makes it available to all wildlife, including butterflies. 

About the Author: Jean M. Fogle is the author of Tricks for Treats (BowTie Press, 2010) and Salty Dogs (Wiley Publishing, 2007) and Tricks for Treats. 

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