How to Make Butterfly Puddles

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Things You'll Need

  • Small bowl, dish, aluminum pie pan, or small flowerpot

  • Sand

  • Water

  • Shovel

  • Composted manure

  • Salt

  • Decorative rocks, twigs, or pine bark

Butterflies are a very striking addition to any flower garden. One way to attract them is by building a butterfly puddle. Butterflies gain their water and minerals by sipping from moist spots, not from open water like birds that enjoy birdbaths. A butterfly's method of drinking is called "puddling," according to Native Wildlife Gardening. An artificial butterfly puddle will look natural in any flower garden and can start at a size of just 16 inches wide, so there's no need to worry about them obstructing a garden's beauty.


Step 1

Fill the bottom of a bowl, dish, pie pan or flowerpot with sand. It's recommended by Native Wildlife Gardening that the item being used is a minimum of 16 inches wide to prevent rapid evaporation.

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Step 2

Add enough water to make the sand moist. Stale beer or a sweet drink can be substituted for water.

Step 3

Find a spot in full sun and dig a hole for the bowl. Bury the bowl to ground level, making it flush with the dirt.

Step 4

Put approximately 1 tablespoon of composted manure in the sand. A pinch of salt may also be added; butterflies require additional sodium when mating.


Step 5

Decorate the puddle with appealing rock, river stone, clam shells, or pine bark. These items, along with twigs, provide perching and sunbathing spots for butterflies.


Gravel can be used instead of sand. Occasionally, a piece of rotting or overripe fruit should be added to the puddle. The fruit contains amino acids that butterflies require. The bowl does not need to be buried; it can be placed on the ground, a rock, or an overturned pot. However, burying the bowl makes the puddle appear more natural and slows the evaporation rate.


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