How To Prepare Your Wild Space For The Big Butterfly Count 2024

Sophie Hall

The Big Butterfly Count 2024 is almost here! Here are our top tips for preparing your Wild Space, big or small, to attract butterflies and moths in time for the Count, which takes place from Friday 12 July – Sunday 4 August.

Big garden

If you’re lucky enough to have a big garden, now is a great time to add nectar. Choose flowering plants like Scabious, Verbena bonariensis Alliums, and Lavender, which should be ready and blooming at your local garden centre, and plant them in a sunny position to attract butterflies to come and enjoy a feast!

Another simple way to attract butterflies and moths to a larger Wild Space? Let your grass grow! As our research shows, long grass can result in seeing more butterflies – both in number and type of butterfly. Plus, consider leaving a few patches of nettles and bramble where they are, as they provide both nectar and food for butterflies at different stages of their lifecycle.

You could also create habitat piles with logs and leaves so that the butterflies you attract have somewhere to shelter and their caterpillars have a place to pupate.

Community space

Much like a big garden, the thing to think about when attracting moths and butterflies to a community space is providing food for both the adults, in the form of nectar, and food for the caterpillars in the form of plants. All of the plants we mentioned for big gardens can be used in your community space.

Although it’s too late to sow a wildflower meadow at this time of year, you could try planting plug plants and potted flowers to create a mini meadow instead. Opt for species like Ox-eye Daisies, Knapeweeds and Birds-foot Trefoil.

Working with a plot where you can’t plant in the ground? Try the no dig method instead. Simply lay down layers of cardboard on top of the ground, use planks of wood to create a planter or border around it, and fill it with peat-free compost. Pallet collars are a cheap and effective way to add beds to your community Wild Space, or you can use old tyres, barrels and buckets as pots and planters instead – get creative and recycle old materials at the same time!

Plus, don’t forget to include places to sit, so you can spot which species come and visit your new Wild Space during the Big Butterfly Count.


Although the main focus of your allotment will likely be for growing food, adding wildflowers can help attract pollinators for your crops. Plus, there are lots of flowers that can be eaten by you as well as butterflies, moths and their caterpillars!

Try growing Nasturtiums, which provide nectar and food for caterpillars, as well as making a tasty salad. Herbs like Thyme, Rosemary, Chives, Borage and Marjoram are all rich in nectar, making them great for attracting butterflies. Elderflower flowers make a lovely cordial as well as offering lots of nectar, and the berries provide a treat for you and the birds from late summer onwards.


Patios are a brilliant space to include butterfly and moth friendly plants and flowers – all you need is pots! Fill your patios with pots of nectar-rich flowers like Lavender and Scabious, and herbs like Rosemary and Marjoram. You can also use a trellis planter to grow climbers like Honeysuckle, Jasmine and Ivy. Plus, you can even include trees – there are lots of varieties for patios which are more compact. Try dwarf cherries and apples to attract a bounty of butterflies and fruit for yourself!


Have a very small space or balcony? There is still lots you can do to attract butterflies and moths. Fill pots, hanging baskets and window boxes with flowering plants and herbs for butterflies and moths to nectar on. All of the plants we’ve mentioned so far for larger spaces are great options. You could even create a habitat pile for a balcony using sticks and leaves on a tray for easy maintenance.

No matter the size of your space, every action, big or small, makes a huge difference in attracting and helping butterflies, and will set you up for a wonderful Big Butterfly Count.

The Big Butterfly Count 2024 takes place from 12 July – 4 August. To find out more and to sign up visit Big Butterfly Count (