What Is A Butterfly House – Butterfly Home Ideas For Gardens

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Image by Larka

A butterfly shelter is an attractive addition to your garden, but more importantly, it’s an interesting way to attract a variety of beautiful butterflies. Exactly what is a butterfly house?

A butterfly shelter is a dark, cozy area that provides a place for butterflies to rest, safely away from birds and other predators. Some types of butterflies may use the shelter to hibernate during the winter. Keep reading for tips on creating a house for butterflies.

How to Build a Butterfly House

Building a butterfly house is a fun, inexpensive weekend project. All you need is a couple pieces of lumber and a few basic tools.

A house for butterflies is constructed of nearly any type of untreated lumber and basically enclosed. They are often made of recycled wood. Butterfly homes are usually tall and narrow, often about 11 to 24 inches (28-61 cm.) tall and 5 to 8 inches (13-20 cm.) across, but the shape and size aren’t critical. The roofs are usually (but not always) peaked.

Narrow vertical slits on the front of the butterfly shelter allow butterflies to enter the house and are too small for hungry birds to enter. The slits measure approximately four inches (10 cm.) tall and ½ to ¾ inch across. Spacing of the slits doesn’t really matter. Butterfly houses are usually hinged on the back; however, some even have removable tops, like lids.

Attracting Visitors to Your Butterfly Home

Completed butterfly homes are installed on a pipe or board, about three or four feet (about 1 m.), above the ground. Place your home away from harsh winds. If possible, locate near the edge of a wooded area, be sure the spot is sunny though; butterflies aren’t attracted to shady locations.

Leave your completed home as-is to blend in with your garden or paint it yellow, purple, red, or other butterfly-friendly colors. Nontoxic paint is safest for butterflies. Leave the inside unpainted.

A variety of nectar-rich plants nearby will attract butterflies. Examples of butterfly-friendly plants include:

A shallow dish of water or birdbath nearby will provide hydration to keep butterflies healthy and well-hydrated. Place a few twigs or a piece of bark inside the butterfly shelter.

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