How to Build a Butterfly Watering Hole

by Bella Rum

When butterflies are only tiny babies, their mamas tell them to be leery of deep water. They have wimpy, little legs. They just do, but we don’t judge them. They have six legs, and each leg has six joints. That’s kind of neat, and they can smell and feel vibrations through their legs. We can’t do that. However, getting a drink of water without drowning can be a challenge. If you want to help the wimpy-legged butterflies, and who wouldn’t, you can make a butterfly bath. 
Years ago, we bought this (too) small birdbath when we were on the way to visit my aunt. I loved the look of it. There was a garden sculpture nursery-type place that we passed every time we visited. We finally stopped to check it out, and the prices were incredible. We bought this very shallow birdbath and Porch Pup on the same day.

As a rule, I think birdbaths should be a little deeper. This one has rarely attracted birds, but I thought it would be perfect for butterflies. Also, I think it was in the wrong place in the yard – too close to where we sit. H moved it about a week ago, and we decided to make it into a butterfly bath.

It is now surrounded by flowers, near food for the birds, and close to a shrub that provides cover for birds. Not only do the butterflies like it, but it has finally become a popular spot for small birds. Yesterday, I watched a house finch who was very involved in a splash fest. If you want to help the lovely butterfly, here’s a recipe. 

How to Build a Butterfly Watering Hole


1 shallow birdbath or any shallow container (shallow is the key word here) You can try the trays for clay pots, the tops of some containers, etc.

A few rocks. You can use river rocks, pebbles or other rocks.


Optional: Orange halves or other fruit.


Place rocks in container. Add water, but do not submerge the rocks. If you use smaller rocks, you can arrange them in clusters to make islands.

Note: Zinnias attract butterflies. They are bright and flat, which gives them a landing pad. They like that. Here’s a list of flowers that attract butterflies.

Now our small birds and butterflies are happy. There’s nothing like killing two birds with one stone. *groan*