A Butterfly Garden for Sunbathing & Puddling

Did you know that butterflies like to ‘sunbathe’ in the warm sun?

They also like to congregate around puddles of water, often called ‘puddling’.

So, when I was asked to design a butterfly garden for a golf course – I included nectar plants that would provide food for adult butterflies and larval plants, which would help to feed butterflies while they are still caterpillars.  But in addition to the plants, I made sure to include areas for them to bask in the sun as well as providing a puddle of water.

This is a very young garden – it was just planted back in May.  You can see in the photo above, that there are large boulders, interspersed throughout the garden.  These boulders provide the perfect place for butterflies to stop and sunbathe for awhile.  They especially do this once temperatures begin to cool to help them warm up.

In addition to the ‘sunbathing rocks’ we also included a boulder with a depression on the top that is a perfect place to hold a ‘puddle’ of water.  Butterflies like to flock around puddles of water in order to absorb the minerals present in the soil and water.  These minerals are said to increase the fertility of male butterflies.

Photo: L. Shyamal Wynaad

Photo: L. Shyamal Wynaad

These puddles are usually located in soil and/or rocks with shallow puddles of water.

We wanted to include an area of water for the butterflies in this garden to ‘puddle’.  So, we searched for a boulder with a shallow depression on the top.

Thankfully, we found the perfect boulder and added a single drip-emitter to provide water.  The boulder is placed along the pathway, near butterfly-attracting plants and near the bench so that visitors can view the butterflies up close.  The minerals for the butterflies are provided by the water and also come from the rock itself.

The butterfly garden is just a few months old and is still a work in progress and as the plants continue to grow, more butterflies will visit.

Soon a butterfly feeder and house will be added.  I plan to take time to visit this new garden often and see its beautiful, fluttering visitors.  I will post more in the future about the specific plants in the new butterfly garden, along with pictures.

How about you?  Do you want to provide an area for butterflies to sunbathe and ‘puddle’?  Add some shallow rocks in a sunny area, near butterfly-attracting plants – butterflies will take advantage of this warm spot in your garden.  Creating your own ‘puddling’ spot for butterflies is fun and easy.  My fellow blogger, Jill, wrote a great post on how to make your own puddling area “Butterfly Puddling Spot”.

Soon, you will enjoy butterflies sunbathing and puddling in your garden!

  1. says

    Hi Noelle,
    My mom lives in AZ and I am going to try and incorporate some of these flowers into her landscape. Can you tell me the name of the yellow flowering shrubs? Are they a Coreopsis?

    Thanks so much!


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