Organic Methods to Sustain your Butterfly Garden

As you cultivate your butterfly garden, you’ll want to protect it the best way you can. Organic methods not only help improve your care results, they’re also an essential ingredient for the very thing you are trying to accomplish – surrounding yourself with the beauty of butterflies.

Whether you’re in need of soil improvements or looking for methods to stop animals from “farming” your garden, there are many ways you can sustain your hard work without spreading harmful compounds and environmentally harsh toxins.

Try to use all organic methods for creating a butterfly garden

1. Mulch – A natural form of weed control in your garden is by using mulch on the beds of your plants. These mulches can be derived from a variety of materials including grass clippings and shredded leaves or wood chips. By covering the flowerbed in a thick layer of this natural weed-stopper, you can spend less time removing these troublesome invaders from your butterfly garden.

Many will use grass clippings as a natural fertilizer that is fed back into the soil giving a boost of nitrogen to the plants they support. A spread of four to six inches in the sunny areas of your garden will help reduce the amount of weeds that invade your garden.

2. Water – Depending on the size of your garden, utilizing a rain-barrel can save you a great deal of money in watering needs. The chemical compounds that are injected into our drinking water don’t need to be present in your garden. Your butterfly-attracting flowers don’t need fluoride or concentrations of chlorine.

The water captured by the rain barrel is as natural as you can get. Watering your plants in the early morning allows your garden to utilize the life-supporting component throughout the hottest parts of the day, which can improve your plant’s survival.

3. Fungus – It can be heart breaking to spend so much time cultivating a garden only to watch it wilt away and die off because of fungus. Organic fungicides such as Soap-Shield can help keep your flowers free from a variety of fungus while preventing harm to butterflies and other beautiful creatures that are attracted to your garden.

These fungicide products are made with natural components that fight the infections that can destroy your garden and all of the work you put into the experience.

4. Nature versus Nature – Sometimes, it’s best to allow nature to assist you in your gardening needs. There are a variety of insects that are beneficial to your gardens including Lady Bugs, or Lady Beetles. These aphid eating reinforcements can reduce the population of those insects that harm plant life.

Although grasshoppers can cause a fair amount of damage to a garden, using Praying Mantis to quell the invasion might catch a few butterflies in the cross fire. Is the collateral damage worth reinforcing your garden with these insect eating predators?

5. Bug Killer Sprays – For those who would rather not incorporate the help of nature, there are insect killing garden sprays that can help eliminate those bugs that are devastating on a flower garden. Non-toxic sprays such as EcoSmart Organic Garden Insect Killer are pet and child friendly in order to promote a healthier garden and family element. Follow label instructions to avoid harming caterpillars and butterflies.

There are many organic methods you can utilize in order to produce an amazing result without spending a great deal of money. Healthier plants will encourage a greater yield of butterflies and could help sustain your garden for a greater amount of time.

Use nature’s tools around you to develop a garden haven that everyone can safely enjoy…including the butterflies.

This post was contributed by Linda Bailey from She is a Texas-based writer who writes on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more.
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  1. About 4 years ago I started about a one acre monarch butterfly garden and after doing so well, I added almost another acre a couple years ago. This year as in years past, I added some additional annual seeds and more milkweed. For some reason, my flower garden looks like it has been taken over by weeds and grass this year.

    Obviously this large area is too much to mulch or pull weeds from. Is there anything I can do to control the weeds and grass without harming the milkweed?


    1. Hi Chris, that sounds more like a wildflower field…the only ‘weeds’ I’d consider removing from an area like that are unwanted tree seedlings. Sorry, but no ideas on organic weed control for a space this large…good luck!

  2. Hey I’m asia I just got a butterfly garden for my birthday and I have a few butterflies but they keep dying from heat and I would like to know how to fix that and I have ants and flies in my garden how could I help my butterflies I have monarchs one from a parsley plant and painted lady butterflies

  3. I am building a butterfly garden and the area is larger than I can manage this year. I was thinking about putting wood mulch around everything to keep weeds down. I have heard conflicting stories about using wood mulch (as far as how long it will take to decompose into your soil, and also that it increases chances of fungus since it’s holding moisture all the time). Also, it is hard to sort through all of the mulch options you see at the big stores, sometimes they don’t even tell you what types of trees are in the wood chips or mulch. Any advice?

    1. Hi Maggie, we use cedar mulch and that has worked well for us…no plant issues, less weeds, and lots of pollinator visitors. Of course, for any plants that don’t like moist soil, apply lightly…good luck!

  4. Hi Tony,

    Are you saying that the Soap Shield fungicide is safe to use even if there are eggs &/or caterpillers on the plants? I am worried about what this summer will bring. Last year we were attacked with the rust fungus & there was nothing I could do. I tried the h202 but it was too late.

    Thanks so much

    1. Hi Judy, we don’t spray anything on plants that are occupied by eggs or caterpillars. If a plant is in bad shape, you could try transferring caterpillars to another plant and then treating or cutting back the affected plant.

  5. Hi Tony. I have a question in regard to mulch. I know cedar mulch possibly repels insects. I was going to use it on the surrounding area outside my raised bed, but don’t want to repel the butterflies. Your thoughts?

    1. Hi Terry, we use cedar mulch and the odor dissipates pretty quickly. It hasn’t stopped monarchs and many other pollinators from visiting our garden on a regular basis…

  6. I have Japanese beetle infestation annually on my basswood, roses and cherry tree. I am considering nematodes plus milky spore next spring. Do nematode harm moth and butterfly life cycles, and if so is there a compromise I can use?

    1. Hi E.C., milky spore is intended for use in late summer/early fall when the soil is warm and the grubs are feeding. I’m not sure about the nematodes, and if they would be potentially harmful to other insects, but i would research thoroughly before utilizing that control method. For the adults, pheromone traps can be very effective, if not placed directly by/in your garden:

      Japanese Beetle Pheromone Traps

  7. Hi Tony – is it safe to spray the Soap Shield fungicide on the leaves that have caterpillars on them? I had a lot of disease this past summer & only used diluted peroxide.

    1. Hi Judy, we don’t spray any treatments on egg/caterpillar occupied leaves. During the season, we cut back problem plants…we use hydrogen peroxide preventatively at the beginning of the season:

      Milkweed Diseases PS..I’m not familiar with your fungicide

  8. I planted milkweed seeds in a greenhouse about a month ago and the soil is turning like a light green. What can i do to make the green go away? Also i have the seeds in little pots and i was going to transplant them when they get bigger. will the roots handle the transplant?

    1. Hi Josh, this is typically caused from too much moisture/humidity. I would physically removed the green sections of the soil and discard. Decrease watering and increase ventilation. I’ve done this before with an oscillating fan.

  9. Hi Tony,
    My monarchs came a little early this year and I was about to fertilize the milkweed with miracle gro. Will this harm the caterpillars if it gets on them or by eating the leaves wet with the fertilizer?


    1. Hi Sue, we (and many others I’ve spoken to) have used Miracle gro over the years on milkweed and had no issues with it harming our caterpillars/butterflies.

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