When creating a butterfly garden, the first and most important step is to plant flowers that attract them to your yard. Maybe even include some host plants for the caterpillars to feed on to keep them around in all stages. But that won't be enough to bring them back time and time again. To have a really successful butterfly garden, you will also want to provide them with butterfly nectar and fresh water in a butterfly puddler. Butterflies drink by “puddling”. They sip at shallow puddles of water in mud or sand instead of landing in large open water areas. To make them feel welcome in your garden, you should include various features to supply all their needs. How wonderful to sit on your porch and watch dozens of butterflies not only glide by, but also linger in the haven you created for them. This project is thrifty and quick to put together, my favorite kind.
How to Make a Butterfly Puddler
To get started, you will need a large, shallow dish or container (use a container at least 18″ wide). I used an extra bird bath I had laying around and set it right in the middle of my garden in the shade.
Place sand to cover at least 3/4 of your container.
Add water until soil is just moistened, with shallow pockets of water. You could also use butterfly nectar or stale beer – butterflies are quite the beer drinkers.
Add several stones or sticks throughout the sand for butterflies to rest on.
Overripe fruit can also be placed in the puddler to offer another source of nectar.
Keep your sand just slightly moist and do not overfill, butterflies cannot land in open water.