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How to design your garden to attract butterflies

Painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterfly on an echinacea flower.
Photo: Maxim Larrivée
A Painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) on a echinacea flower.
  • Choose an informal style, with irregularly shaped and curved beds, and trees or shrubs near the rear.
  • Plant groupings of several plants of the same species — they will be easier for the butterflies to find.
  • No matter how small your garden is, set aside a wild corner for native plants that butterflies can’t resist.
  • Lawns composed only of grass aren’t attractive to butterflies, but if you add some clover (Trifolium repens) you’ll be able to feed a number of different species.

Of course, you can plan to build your garden over a number of years. Start out with just a few groupings of nectar plants. You can gradually add more and different varieties each year, along with a selection of host plants.

To find out more about the world of butterflies, visit the Montréal Insectarium.

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