Peculiarities – Butterfly Salt Lick

Butterflies are attracted to salt. For male butterflies especially, it is a vital nutrient. I decided to help them out and make a butterfly salt lick for my garden. I washed out a glass bowl, found an old discarded metal stand and glued them together.

I buried the legs of the stand into my garden soil near plants attractive to butterflies.

I brought home some of the Delaware Bay’s sandy beach.

I added a piece of driftwood, a few shells and sea glass shards as butterfly perches.

A bit of water to activate the salts and minerals in the sand was the last step. My project is finished. Hopefully, I will be able to capture a few photographs of butterflies drinking up the salt.

Click here to read why: Butterflies need salt?

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20 thoughts on “Peculiarities – Butterfly Salt Lick”

  1. I’m in Texas and the beach is 7 hrs away. Home depot has bag they call play sand for landscaping and etc. Can I use this should I use top soil or what. Do I add sea salt or rock to it? Thanks

    1. I think they are just as happy with mud. They also will congregate on wet concrete. I’m not sure what is in the play sand but give it a try. I live in an area where I don’t have to add anything such as salt. I did add a few little footholds of rocks, etc. I know they also like rotting fruit.

  2. IS there a way to do this without the sand? I don’t live near body of salt water to get the sand. Could one use any type of sand and add salt to the water?

    1. Butterflies also need salts that are in mud. If you add a little soil to a shallow dish and add water it should work. Stones half submerged in water would draw butterflies too. Be sure to use soil that has not been treated with lawn pesticides or fertilizer.

    1. Hi Melanie, I used sand from the shores of the Delaware bay which is full of natural salt and minerals. Are there any bodies of water near your home? You can also use plain old mud, or sandy soil from areas near your home. If you do this be sure the area you take soil or sand from is free of any chemical contaminants and not near a road. Kathy

  3. In the butterfly gardens they feed them w bananas. I like your suggestion, maybe bananas is an alternative to land lucked folks

  4. I love this! I’m using your idea to make something similar for my butterfly garden. I believe they also like the salt tablets like those from water softener salt tablets.

    1. Didn’t see any, but did see little tracks of something in the sand. Unfortunately, it was one of those summers when the butterfly population in our area seemed to be down. The cabbage whites did well and flourished, and laid many eggs that ate my cruciferous vegetables in the garden. I saw a few black swallowtails, very few yellow swallowtails, a lot of skippers toward the end of the season, and a few monarchs. On the whole the butterfly population wasn’t as large as it has been in past years.

  5. Love this idea… only problem is I live in SouthEast Missouri. No ocean beaches here. Any suggestions? I so want to do this for my garden…

    1. Why not add some natural sea salt to whatever clean sand you have available? A bit of natural sponge soaked in salt water would work too, and give the butterflies a perch.

      1. To Vaericks…
        Thank you for the suggestion.

        My oldest son in an OTR trucker and thought of even asking him to pick up some sand on his next trip to the coast… BUT this idea is so much easier.

        Winter almost here… Will be doing this come Spring… Thank you so.much

  6. Liked your project! I’m a Delawarean and headed to the beach next week – going to bring back some sand!

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