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How to Make a Butterfly Puddling Station

How to Make a Butterfly Puddling Station

Creating a butterfly puddling station is a wonderful way to provide them with essential nutrients and minerals.

We raise butterflies all summer long in Missouri, so I’m always looking for ways to enhance our butterfly garden and make it more pollinator-friendly.

In addition to host plants like milkweed and nectar plants, things like butterfly puddling stations are a fun way to attract butterflies to our garden.

Puddling stations are small areas where butterflies gather to drink water and absorb salts and minerals from damp soil or other materials.

Butterflies naturally seek out puddling areas to replenish their energy levels.

Create a butterfly puddling station for your garden

Here’s how you can create your own puddling station to let butterflies partake in this activity in your garden:

Choose a location for your puddling station

Find a suitable location in your garden or yard that receives partial sun or dappled shade. Butterflies prefer areas with a mix of sunlight and shade for their puddling activities.

These conditions would mimic those where butterflies would naturally find puddles to drink from.

Prepare a shallow container

Choose a shallow container or saucer that is approximately 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) in diameter.

This container should be shallow enough for butterflies to access the water easily. A clay saucer or a shallow dish works well for this purpose. Alternatively, a bird bath can be a great option! That’s what I’ll be using in this post.

Add soil, sand and/or rocks of your container

To provide butterflies with minerals, add a layer of moist soil or sand to the bottom of the container.

If you live near a beach or area with natural sand, this may be a good option since it will already contain the nutrients butterflies are seeking.

You might consider filling half your station with soil or sand and the other half with small pebbles for butterflies to land on.

This just provides more options for butterflies to land in and use your puddling station that mimic a naturally occurring puddle.

You can also add compost to your mixture to add even more nutrients and minerals.

Provide perching options

Place some flat rocks or larger pebbles in your puddling station to offer perching spots for butterflies. They can rest on these surfaces while drinking from the water.

Add water to your container

This is the part where you actually make a puddle!

Add about an inch of clean water to your container using a hose or watering can or pitcher, or until the soil or sand in your station is moist.

Avoid filling it too deep, as butterflies prefer shallow puddles and can’t land on open water.

Include overripe fruit to your puddling station when available

Butterflies are attracted to decaying organic matter, which can provide additional nutrients.

Consider adding a small piece of overripe fruit or a few drops of compost tea to the container.

Bananas, oranges, strawberries, apples and pears are popular fruits to add to a puddling station.

Maintain the puddling station

Keep an eye on the puddling station to ensure that it stays moist.

Replenish the water and moisten the soil or sand to maintain an inviting puddling environment for butterflies as needed!

Creating a butterfly puddling station is a simple and rewarding addition to your butterfly-friendly garden and will likely encourage frequent butterfly visitors to your garden!

Want to learn more about butterflies? Check out these 10 fun facts about butterflies.