How to Grow Butterflies

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Butterflies can bring so much life and color to any garden. These tiny creatures love to fly around gracefully and stop to perch on colorful flowers and plants. Butterflies display some of the most fascinating colors and patterns which captivate interest. Growing your own butterflies for your garden or yard is exciting because you are involved in the process of creating a beautiful insect. Watching the caterpillar morph into a whole new creature with wings that resemble a rainbow of color is a wonderful experience for everyone.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass jar or butterfly kit
  • Butterfly net
  • Fish tank
  • Distilled water
  • Spray bottle
  • Find a place for your butterflies. You need a place that is away from household pets like cats and dogs. Most people like to grow their butterflies in their bathroom or even outside on their porch if the weather permits.

  • Go to thenaturestore.com to purchase your butterfly kit (see Resources). Scroll down on the left hand side of the screen and click on the link that says butterflies. A new page will open up. Click on the link that says live butterfly kits. Click on it to choose the amount of butterflies that you would like to grow. You can grow anywhere between five and 32 Monarchs. Buy your kit.

  • Go hunting for caterpillars. If you don’t have the money to buy a kit, the other option is go out and find the caterpillars yourself. This may or may not be possible depending on the area that you live in. If you live in a desert climate you are better off buying a kit on line, but if you live in a place like Portland, Oregon or Atlanta, Georgia where this a lot of green plant life, you should be able to find some caterpillars. Spend a day hunting for them and place each one in a glass jar. Spring is usually the best time for caterpillar hunting.

  • Remove the insect carefully, keeping it still attached to the plant rather than picking the caterpillar up directly with your hands. You can typically find them perched on plants or crawling along the ground or logs. After you have collected your caterpillars you should put no more than two to three in one jar depending on the size of the jar. Punch holes in the top of the jar. Remove some sticks and leaves from the area where you found the insect. You will need to include plenty of this material in the jar. If you have an empty fish tank at home you can also put your insects together inside the tank. Include plenty of sticks in the tank or jar perched at an angle rather than laying flat.

  • Feed your caterpillars. You will need to continue to provide food for your insects on a daily basis. Give the insects edible leafs, preferably the same leafs that you found them on. If you notice that your insects don’t like particular leaves, choose a new one because there are certain leaves they tend to avoid. You can buy a caterpillar guide if you want to find specifics about food or you can experiment to see what the insect likes.

  • Mist your bugs. Fill your spray bottle with distilled water and mist their environment lightly each day.

  • Watch. Continue to feed and mist your potential butterflies on a daily basis and watch as they start to pulpate. They will find a stick of their choosing and before you know it they will be inside a cocoon. When the new butterfly emerges from the cocoon it will not be able to fly right away. The wings will still be wet for a short period time. Once the butterfly is no longer wet you can release it into your garden or back to the place where you found it.

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