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.