Melinda's How-To: Birds and Butterflies - Pasquesi Home and Gardens
Melinda's Gardening How-To: Invite Birds and Butterflies into Your Garden

Melinda’s How-To: Birds and Butterflies

Include a few of your favorite plants, water and shelter and watch them visit your backyard or even containers.

And be sure to stop using pesticides and if absolutely necessary, use wildlife-friendly products and spot treat problem areas. Then, postpone perennial clean up until late winter. Leave healthy perennials standing for winter, them prune and compost the debris in late winter. You’ll increase plant hardiness and provide winter food for the birds and shelter for overwintering butterfly larvae (caterpillars), eggs and other beneficial insects.


Here’s What You Need

  • Plants that attract birds and butterflies. Plant spring, summer and fall flowering plants. Incorporate day and night bloomers. Include a variety of colors and shapes such as flat-faced and daisy-like flowers for butterflies. Make sure to have seed and berry producing plants for birds. Grow trees, shrubs and herbs like dill, parsley and fennel for caterpillars.
  • Add evergreens to provide year round interest and shelter.
  • Add steppers, stones or other flat surfaces for butterflies to warm themselves.
  • Birdbath or fountain, add a few stones so they can also sip without getting wet. Remember to change water in birdbaths regularly to keep clean & prevent mosquitos.
  • Bucket or shallow container with damp sand and sunk into ground. Add a pinch of sea salt and watch butterflies gather.


  • Birdhouse designed for birds you are attracting.
  • Birdfeeders and seed to increase bird visitors.
  • Hummingbird feeder to increase diversity of winged visitors. Fill with commercial or homemade sugar water. Mix 1 part sugar and 4 parts water.

Design Tips

  • Look for new locations for adding flowers and color.
  • Extend the season with bulbs and creative combinations.
  • Mass plants for greater visual impact and better wildlife appeal.
  • Place taller plants toward the back and shorter ones toward the front of gardens.
  • Combine spring, summer and fall blooming perennials and don’t be afraid to add a few3 annuals for season long color for you and food for winged visitors.
  • Leave plants stand for winter to provide seeds for birds and shelter for beneficial insects.
  • Use evergreens and berry producing shrubs for year round interest and food for birds.

Other Resources

  • Landscaping for Wildlife, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Garden Butterflies of North America by Rick Mikula
  • National Audubon Field Guides to North American Butterflies
  • The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley
  • Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Winged Wonders to Your Backyard by Kris Wetherbee


  • Just A Few Plants to Consider
    • Annuals such as Pansy, Alyssum, Ageratum, Angelonia, Begonia, Cuphea, Fuchsias, Heliotrope, Impatiens, Lantana, Nasturtiums, Nicotiana, Pentas, Sunflowers, Tithonia, Verbena, Licorice Vine, Sweet Potato Vine, Cardinal Vine & Morning Glory
    • Perennials such as Hellebore, Marsh Marigold, Skunk Cabbage, Peony, Pasque Flower, Phlox, Columbine, Bleeding Heart, Brunnera, Iris, Perennial Geranium, Bellflowers, Astilbe, Walker’s Low Catmint, Calamintha, Veronica, Daylily, Salvia, Coreopsis, Delphinium, Russian Sage, Cimicifuga (Actaea), Coneflowers, Rudbeckia, Mum, Aster, Goldenrod, Japanese Anemone, Toad Lily, Ornamental & Native Grasses
    • Bulbs – Crocus, Squills, Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinth, Grape Hyacinths, Iris, Alliums, Lilies
    • Shrubs – Evergreens for cover and food (Arborvitaes, Juniper, Yews)
    • Trees – Evergreens for cover and food (Firs Pines, Spruces)
    • Vines – Cardinal Climber, Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans), Honeysuckle Vine, Morning Glory, Passion Vine, Scarlet Runner Bean, American @Wisteria


Written by gardening expert, Melinda Myers. Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s Gardening How-To with you!

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