Butterfly Feeding Station


Introduction: Butterfly Feeding Station

I woke up to Minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit this morning and I thought it would be a good day to think about spring.

I don’t know when it started, but I have always enjoyed butterflies.

To help the butterflies out and increase the opportunity to see more of them; I plant butterfly gardens and make feeders.

I wanted to share one of my flower garden feeders - in this instructables.

I know it is a little early, but spring is just around the bend.

Step 1: Design

In the past I tried ground level feeders, this creates some issues. The dogs like to get into them.

Butterflies do not like strong wind or deep pools of water, especially when drinking or feeding.

They do like colors and a calm place to drink.

By using a movable pot with a colorful shallow plate, it allows me to move the feeder around and is a perfect drinking container.

When starting my seeds for the attraction flowers, I can put the pots in the best spot for growing in the sun. Once my flowers have established themselves - I can move the pot to a less windy spot. In my yard, the wind can come in different directions. So it is nice to be able to move the flowers with the feeder about the yard.

By elevating the feeder it allows a greater amount of flowers to grow / climb in one concentrated area.

Plus it is easy on my back to refill the plate feeder with water. I use a sponge to retain the water. Even with a sponge, the feeder dries up quickly.

Well that is my reasoning for the design.

Step 2: Gather the Items

Pot – I use plastic pots because of moving them around. I used to use clay pots but they tend to crack when moving. I use 17 inch diameter opening by 14 inches high. The only critical thing about the pot is the ability to support the plant after it grows up the plant support. Too small and the whole thing will tip over.

Soil – Not having a green thumb I like the all in one potting soil. With all the nutrients already mixed in. I buy twice what I think I need.

Seeds / Flowers – I selected Morning Glories. They really climb well

Plant support – at the store they called them tomato supports or tomato fence. I used uncoated metal 19 inch diameter top opening by 55 inches tall. I wanted the color ones but they sold out. I thought the more color the better.

Fence or screen – I have a shown on my drawing for 23 inches in diameter, this is to fold over the top of the plant support. The function is to hold the plate. I used old metal wire fence which is great to just bend over the top ring of the support to secure.

Plate – I went to the local dollar store and bought the brightest color they had. I read that butterflies tend to go grouping of single color areas. Not a mixed. Well my plates do not match the color of the flowers I buy. I have not had an issue yet - never met an angry butterfly.

Sponge- I look for sponges that do not contain or are preloaded with cleaners. Never even new this until I went looking for sponges. I been using 3 ½ inches wide, by 2 ½ inches long by 1 inch high sponges.

Weight – After I ran one over one of the sponges with my riding lawnmower, I realized that when the feeder gets dry, so does the sponge. It does not take much wind to blow the sponge out. So, I recommend a weight. What I have shown in the pictures is a rock agate slap. The agate is pretty cool, get it wet and the stone comes alive.

Sizes of items can vary based on what is available to you.

Optional items to add

Fruit slices for feeding

Step 3: Putting It Together

I rolled out a section of old fence and place the largest diameter of the plant support on top of it.

Using my wire cutters - I cut a rough circle approximately 2 inches wider than the largest diameter.

Flipping the plant support over and with gloves I folded the edges of the cut fense around the edges of the plant support.

I filled the pot with soil and then put in the plant support.

I put the colorful plate on top of the fence / screen.

Plant the seeds and water per instructions

Step 4: Here Is a Group of Feeders Ready for Spring.

Plant your seeds or flowers following the instructions as required for you area or zone.

Some butterflies choose the morning glory flower family. The Morning glory vines bloom in bright colors and can have robust scents.

I live in zone 4, which means to the start seeds in May to June.

Some years, the morning glories grow extremly well.

In the photo above: in the middle of the group of my morning glories are the plates.

I waited for butterflies to be included in the picture, but no luck. I did have a nice nap while I waited.

If you ever get to Branson MO. check out the butterfly Imax movie.



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    Apparently Morning Glory seeds are quite toxic, and i have pets... Can you suggest an alternative? I plan to do mine this week! Thanks :)

    1 reply

    wow - I did not know this about large ingestion of seeds can be harmful to pets. I have two dogs.
    Here is a site I grabbed off the internet, please note I did not cross reference the flowers to how harmful they might be to pets.
    Also morning glories grow wild (not by me). There is quite an overview inside this instructable about the other downsides of morning glories.
    I hope this helps, I will be reading the rest of the day, I have not started planting, the snow just got off the ground.

    Thank you again, our family is very protective of our pets. I am feeling bad that I did not do better due diligence on this plant.

    We have a front yard back fenced from the yard set up. back yard for animals and the front yard for me. I will be moving mine to the front yard; this is why I like pots.

    Oh yeah, save money.... Keep the dirt in the pots & just put them away in a garage or out of the elements so they don't dry rot or get damaged by the sun or snow. Then you don't have to buy dirt every year. Just pull the roots out, let them dry out, burn them & then put the ash back in the buckets. It'll fertilize the dirt. Or if you really want to get great soil, get a composter & dump your soil in with food scraps... No meat, greased foods, or bones. Use veggie & fruit scraps, eggs shells, leaves, small sticks & water ever so often. I think coffee grounds too. But do that with your dirt & after it starts breaking down real good, dig up a few worms & throw in it..... Or... Get a pack of night crawlers from a bait store. But after it gets broke down reuse ur soil. You might need 2 composters so you can leave 1 sitting for about a year & switch out every year.
    Throwing dirt in the woods & buying more.... No offense... But that's literally throwing money away. Dirt can always be reused. Just have to put nutrients back in it. Even if it's just miracle grow! Love the stuff.

    3 replies

    Thank you for taking the time to provide me all this great information. Can not wait for spring.

    Yw! I can't wait either. I wanna get my flower beds weeded & maybe plant sum bulbs of some sort. Definitely gotta get my roses trimmed, mulched & weeded. Plus get the plants out of the house so they can get more sun. Hope my ideas helped.

    You really got me going now. I forgot about my tulips,
    planted them a few years ago, at our current house - I leave them in all year.
    In Michigan they have the Holland tulip festival; it is amazing if you like
    tulips – which I do. My grandfather worked as a boy at a tulip farm (in the Netherlands),
    which created my interest. Anyway, I did rows of them around the house, kept guard
    from the wildlife (a lot of window pounding). I also create a backup grow
    area – an area where I plant extra if needed. Well with my tulips in
    the fancy rows did not come so well, I planted them like a spiritual engineer,
    rulers and some encouraging words with each bulb. The backup grow area where I
    broke every rule, came up fantastic. Let’s
    see what will happen this year. It really does not matter to me, I like it all.

    I can't wait to try this!! I think I might see if mom has anymore of her humming bird vine seeds. They would be awesome with this & attract butterflies & humming birds!!
    Mom usually plants the seeds & puts up fishing line from the ground to the roof of the porch or house & puts about 10 of them & they crawl all the way up in a mater of a few weeks. If I can get some grown, I'll take pics. I was amazed with those plants/vines. 1 grew almost a foot from 1 morning till the next night. Plus there are delicate looking & beautiful.

    Thanks for the idea!!

    1 reply

    Don' get me started on hummingbirds - just kidding. I have a red hat that the hummingbirds seem to love. They follow me all around when I wear it, I need to mount a feeder to side of the hat.

    Thank you for the kind words.


    Don't dump the pots! Sift the roots out and burn it. You dump the pots and they will take over the woods.

    2 replies

    This is why I like instructables. I will do this process. Thank you for the information.

    Don't forget the seed pods. ;)

    In my area I hesitate to use Morning Glory as it likes to take over the garden and is hard to get rid of once it has a hold. It spreads underground and pops up in un expected places. For the last 4 years I have been pulling up every vine in the yard and they still keep appearing out of no where.

    1 reply

    I think there is a movie about that. Thanks for letting me know about the underground. I use pots, but I will dump the pots into the woods at the end of the season.
    Thanks for the comment and viewing my instructables