National Gardening Week (29 April - 5 May 2024) is here and we’re sharing our top five tips for creating a Wild Space that will be too good to miss for butterflies and moths. Whether you have a small balcony, a large garden, or a shared community space, it’s time to get those hands dirty to help nature! 

1) Create a nectar buffet 

A great way to bring butterflies and moths to your Wild Space is to feed them! Plant a selection of flowers that bloom at different times of the year to provide nectar all year round, as well as colour and interest for you to enjoy. You can grow lots of these in pots, hanging baskets, and borders, or if you have more space, try creating a meadow

Some butterfly and moth favourites include: 

  • Bird’s-foot Trefoil 
  • Wild Marjoram 
  • Knapweed 
  • Honeysuckle 
  • Verbena bonariensis 
  • Scabious 
  • Red Valerian (if you’re lucky, you might spot a Humming-bird Hawk-moth visiting your Red Valerian) 
  • Sedums 
  • Heather 
2) Don’t forget the caterpillars  

Another way to entice butterflies and moths to your Wild Space is to include plants which provide food for their caterpillars. 

Leaving a patch of nettles to grow provides food for the caterpillars of Peacocks, Red Admirals and Commas. Mint Moth caterpillars love Wild Marjoram. And, did you know Dandelions are eaten by the caterpillars of 44 different types of butterflies and moths! 

Some species of butterfly and moth species can be quite picky about what they eat. If you know there are particular species of butterfly or moth in your local area that you’d like to see visit your garden, visit the ID pages on our website to find out what their caterpillar food plant is and add it to your Wild Space.  

3) Let it grow 

If you already have grass in your garden, one of the easiest ways to attract butterflies and moths is to let it grow! As our latest research shows, letting your grass grow long can boost garden butterfly numbers by up to 93%. Grass provides food for caterpillars as well as shelter and places for caterpillars to pupate. Find out more about how to manage your grass for wildlife here.

4) Add places to shelter 

As well as food, butterflies and moths need spaces to shelter and roost. Some species of butterfly and moth overwinter as adults and need safe places to do that. If you have a bigger space, try adding a native hedge or including Ivy, which is a fantastic climber, providing both nectar, food for caterpillars, and shelter. For smaller spaces, create log piles, leave your leaf litter where it is, and don’t cut your flower stems until the following spring as some species like to overwinter in them!

5) Embrace the night 

Bring your Wild Space to life at night by including species of plants that release beautiful scents after dark. Not only do you get to enjoy the wonderful smells as you sit out in your Wild Space in the evening, night-scented plants attract nocturnal pollinators like Hawk-moths. Some great species to include are Nicotiana, Night-scented Stock, Evening Primrose, Sweet Rocket, Night Phlox, and Star Jasmine. 

For more top tips and advice, visit Let's Create Wild Spaces - Wild Spaces (