Butterfly Nectar

Ideally butterflies will find plenty of nectar in the flowers they find outside, but there are occasions when the flowers are gone and you want to feed some butterflies which have come out late in the fall or very early in the spring. Here are some possible solutions.

Note – the reason this subject came up was because a friend had a butterfly house, that I used to think were a waste of money. The house was outside until January 1st, when she brought it inside. The next day, a Mourning Cloak came out into the house. She has been feeding it every day for the last three weeks.

Fruit – I’ve used watermelon and orange slices and honeydew melon.


Gatorade – I use the plain version. I’ve also heard of people using Juicy Juice.

Hummingbird mix – 4 to 1 mix of water to sugar.

Monarch Watch – sugar/honey – 1 part to 9 parts water.

Nigel Venters Mix – 1# fructose, 1 cup water, bring to a boil for 2 minutes and then add 1 tsp of soy sauce. Use this as a concentrate. Add to water in  a 1 part concentrate to 9 parts water.

Honey to Water – 1 to 10 mix

Monarch Watch has an artificial nectar mix they sell. I bought one and here are the directions.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups of water warm water
  • 1-2 drops of food color (why would they add this?)
  • 1 drop fruit extract – any kind.
  • Contents of the packet – there is no indication what this is other than some sort of preservative.
  • They tell you to keep this in the refrigerator and it should last for months.
  • Note – this small packet has about 15 nuggets of bee pollen. Some dissolves and some doesn’t. This seems like a simple ingredient to add to any mix. I take bee pollen every day so I always have some around.


Monarch Watch also suggests putting the nectar up high and near a light source.


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Filed under Butterfly, Nectar Plant

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