How to make a butterfly garden

Butterflies are a welcome sight of warmer weather. Their beautiful colors and patterns add a pop of color to any garden.

Making a butterfly garden is easy. You just need to know a little bit about butterflies and which plants to grow.

Planting a butterfly garden is a great activity for the whole family. You can enjoy the beautiful flowers while the kids learn about the different life stages of a butterfly.

Here are some tips to help you get started on your own butterfly garden.

Choose the Right Flowers

Nectar-producing flowers are a butterfly's favorite. Butterflies like flowers that are red, yellow, pink, orange and purple. It's also a bonus if they are flat-topped or face upward - butterflies can easily land and drop in a for quick sip of nectar. Common butterfly garden flowers include:

• Alyssum

• Butterfly Bush

• Cornflower

• Cosmos

• Purple Coneflower

• Salvia

• Sunflower

• Milkweed

Flowers should be planted in large clusters. Butterflies notice large patches of a single color, such as butterfly bush. Butterflies will spot the color cluster, even from a distance, and know it's going to be a great source of nectar. You can buy individual seed packets, or even buy a pollinator mix.

Keep Caterpillars in Mind

From the time they're a caterpillar to when they grow into a beautiful butterfly, you'll want to provide spots and food for all stages of life. Caterpillars only eat specific plants. It's important to provide food sources for egg-laying butterflies and their offspring. Caterpillars enjoy parsley, dill, fennel, white clover, and milkweed.

Provide Sun and Water

Plant the flowers in an area with plenty of sun. Most butterfly-attracting flowers require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. It's also important to give butterflies shelter from the wind. Their wings are delicate and need protection from the elements. Butterflies also need a reliable, shallow water source. They tend to use the muddy edges of ponds, creeks, and puddles where the water is shallow and full of minerals. Place a shallow saucer of water among the flowers so they have plenty to drink.