CREATING A BUTTERFLY GARDEN
Butterflies need water to drink. An inviting butterfly garden should have a shallow water dish set in the ground, no deeper than ½ inch. A bird bath is too deep. Mostly male butterflies like to puddle in damp sand or mud which contain salts and minerals they need for reproduction. They like to wait here for a mother butterfly to stop by. Allow some moistened soil for puddling. Place a few rocks around the butterfly watering site. This will allow butterflies to perch before and after drinking.
Monarch butterflies also have an appetite for rotting fruit. In season, I often place overripe squashed bananas out in the garden for pollinators. Butterflies can drink moisture from fruit. Melons are a good source and juicy rinds are appreciated also. All creatures need good nutrition.
If you plant a butterfly garden be sure that there are some shrubs and trees nearby so the butterfly can fly to cover if it needs to. The monarch butterfly is very light and weighs about the same as a maple leaf or about half a gram. I have seen a monarch fly to a tree when it started to rain. Even a rain drop can dislodge a butterfly where it hides among leaves. Sometimes a butterfly can recover if it falls to the ground but more often than not, a wet monarch will be too heavy to fly. A butterfly needs sun to have dry wings.