shallow pan or plate, sand or sandy mud, salt
It is difficult to imagine inviting butterflies to a flowerless garden. There are other ways to invite butterflies to your yard. Some like the taste of rotting fruit! Mash up a banana or some soft overripe fruit. Add a little sugar. Leave it covered overnight. Next morning, put it in a bright sunny spot and watch what happens! You are most likely to find butterflies and some day-flying moths visit it! You can make a list of them, or draw them.
However, many species of butterflies are not attracted to rotting fruits. Some are attracted to fresh fruits and the saps of raw fruits. You can give pieces of fruit to moths and butterflies. Ensure that the fruit is juicy and inviting. This attracts many different species of butterflies and moths. In butterfly houses, where many different species of butterflies are housed together, this technique is commonly used.
Butterflies flock wet spots on the ground to sip water from the earth. Butterfly specialists call this puddling. You can make your own puddle! Place a shallow pan or plate on the ground. Fill it to the brim with sand or sandy mud. Water it gently until some moisture stays on the top. Add a few stones for the butterflies to sit on. Many species of butterflies visit puddles. To make it more inviting, add a pinch of salt in the water. Careful about the salt! Too much can be harmful to the species. Sometimes many individuals of a single species come to visit the puddle. You can make a list of the species or catch them for your collection.
Another way to invite butterflies to your garden is to grow food plants that are important for the caterpillars. Leaves of vegetables like beans, cabbage, carrot, milkweed, thistle, and parsley are important food plants. Caterpillars can also be seen on Jasmine, mango, coconut and other fruit trees. Some caterpillars feed on water plants! Observe the common butterflies in your locality. Watch the most common plant it feeds on. Check periodically for caterpillars. Once you find the host or food plant of the caterpillar, you can bring a branch and place it in water. This will allow the caterpillar to feed on its food plant and grow into butterflies!
You can invite butterflies to your garden without having a single flower! Can you think of other ways to do so?
By Rani Iyer