Where Do You Hang a Butterfly House?

Where Do You Hang a Butterfly House?
Where Do You Hang a Butterfly House? (Image: Photos by Linda Allardice)

Having a butterfly house in your yard or garden is a great way to give these colorful joys of nature a safe place to stay when the weather gets bad, but you have to know where to place them or your butterfly houses could remain empty nests.

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Protection

Butterfly houses protect butterflies not only from the elements, but also from predators. They can also serve as the winter home for caterpillars who come along late in the season and need a place to "winter over" in their chrysalises.

Come in From the Rain
Come in From the Rain

Attracting Tenants

Butterflies feed on nectar from various flowers, so locating your butterfly house near a food source is like turning on the beaming "Vacancy" sign at a motel. Locate your butterfly house near such plants as a butterfly bush, purple cone flowers, lavanta, aster, zinnia, cosmos, hollyhock or blanketflower, as these are well-known butterfly magnets.

Newly-emerged Monarch feeds heartily on cosmos.
Newly-emerged Monarch feeds heartily on cosmos.

Host Plants

Butterflies not only take shelter in butterfly houses, but will even start new families if there are host plants nearby. Certain caterpillars will only eat specific plants, so keep some of these around the butterfly house, too. For example, Monarch caterpillars will only eat milkweed. Research butterflies that are native to your area and make sure their respective host plants are near your butterfly house.

The baby Monarch caterpillar feeds only on milkweed.
The baby Monarch caterpillar feeds only on milkweed.

Considerations

Butterfly houses can be attached to a wall, hung from a tree or mounted on a pole. Just be sure they are at least 15 inches off the ground. This provides easy access to the inside for cleaning. Place the butterfly house where it will be out of the wind and in a spot where the warm sunlight will slip into the slits, letting the butterflies inside know the rain is gone and it's safe to come out and play.

Furnishings

Butterflies need to cling to something, so place long twigs or sections of bark inside the butterfly house to give your tenants a place to rest their wings.

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