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Butterflies are Pollinators too!



Butterflies play a crucial role in ecosystems and hold significant value for the environment.  They are important pollinators for many plant species. As they feed on nectar, they transfer pollen from one flower to another, aiding in the reproduction of plants. This process is essential for the production of fruits, seeds, and new plants.

Butterflies are indicators of a healthy ecosystem. The presence of diverse butterfly species in an area signifies a rich and balanced environment with a variety of plant species, habitats, and food sources.  In addition they serve as a food source for other animals in the ecosystem, including birds, bats, and some insects. They are part of the food chain and contribute to the overall biodiversity of an area.


Some butterfly species, particularly their caterpillars, feed on plant pests like aphids and caterpillars. By preying on these pests, butterflies help control their populations naturally and reduce the need for chemical pesticides.

Butterflies play a vital role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems, supporting plant reproduction, biodiversity, and serving as indicators of environmental health. Protecting butterfly populations and their habitats is essential for the well-being of ecosystems and the species that depend on them.

Through our theme for 2024 Wild About A Greener Guildford  we are trying to encourage corridors of biodiverse wildlife areas across our area so that butterflies, bees and other wildlife can thrive – together we can do small things to make a big difference.



Here are a few ideas to make your garden butterfly friendly:

1. Plant butterfly-friendly flowers: Choose nectar-rich flowers that are native to the region, such as buddleia, lavender, marigolds, and verbena. These flowers provide food for adult butterflies.

2. Create a sunny spot: Butterflies are attracted to warmth, so make sure to create sunny areas in your garden where they can bask and feed.

3. Provide water: Butterflies need water to drink, especially during hot weather. You can create a butterfly puddling area by filling a shallow dish with sand and water or placing wet mud in a sunny spot.


4. Avoid pesticides: Chemical pesticides can be harmful to butterflies and their caterpillars. Opt for natural pest control methods or plant butterfly-friendly plants that naturally repel pests.

5. Create a diverse habitat: Butterflies need a variety of plants for food and shelter. Plant a mix of flowering plants, shrubs, and trees to provide different levels and types of habitats for butterflies.

6. Provide host plants: Different butterfly species lay their eggs on specific host plants, where the caterpillars feed and grow. Research which host plants are preferred by butterflies in your area and include them in your garden. (You will find a list at the bottom of this article of suggested plants to grow as hosts for butterflies).


By implementing these tips, you can create a welcoming environment for butterflies in your garden.

Growing Hosts for Butterflies

There are several native plant species that serve as suitable host plants for butterflies. Host plants are essential for butterflies to lay their eggs and provide food for the caterpillars once they hatch. Here are some common host plants you can grow.

1. Common Nettle (Urtica dioica): Nettles are host plants for several butterfly species, including the Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies.

2. Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus): This plant is a host for the Common Blue butterfly and provides nectar for adult butterflies as well.


3. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca): This plant is a host for the Monarch butterfly, although this species is not native to the UK.

4. Wild Marjoram (Origanum vulgare): The Marjoram plant is a host for the Marbled White butterfly in the South of England.

5. Red Clover (Trifolium pratense): Red Clover is a host plant for the Small Copper butterfly and provides nectar for many other butterfly species.


6. Vetches (Vicia sp.): Various species of Vetches are host plants for butterflies like the Dingy Skipper and Common Blue.

7. Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa): Sorrel is a host plant for the Small Copper butterfly and provides nectar for other butterfly species.

Planting these native host plants in your garden or local green spaces can help support butterfly populations. Creating a butterfly-friendly habitat with a variety of host plants and nectar sources can attract and sustain a diverse range of butterfly species.


To enter our garden or allotment in Guildford in Bloom 2024 and follow our theme #WildAboutAGreenerGuildford - you can download an entry form here: https://www.guildfordinbloom.com/2024-guildford-in-bloom-competition





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