Butterflies sip nectar from flowers but also take up nutrients from moist soil and fallen, rotting fruit.
If you’d like to attract a range of butterflies into your garden, you need to grow plenty of different flowers. Daisies of any sort are good butterfly attractors, but so are upward-facing, tubular-flowers. They don’t have to be big to be attractive.
A butterfly’s life
After feeding, butterflies lay eggs on plants that their caterpillars like to eat.
They’re not always the same plants as those on which the butterflies feed. The eggs hatch into caterpillars that immediately start eating the plant. That does cause some damage, but if you want butterflies you have to let their young eat.
After about two weeks, the caterpillars are fully fed and prepare to pupate into butterflies. They make this miraculous change inside a shell-like chrysalis. It takes about 10 days for the ugly caterpillar to turn into a beautiful butterfly.
Did you know?
Though there are a few exceptions to this rule, most moths pupate from a caterpillar into moth inside a silken cocoon whereas most butterflies pupate inside a hard chrysalis.