Grow food for moths

Activity
Garden Tiger Moth
3-4 hours
Spring Summer Autumn
Easy

Moths are marvellous - exquisitely marked and vital to bats and garden birds as tasty treats. However, moths are in decline and need our help. One of the best ways is by providing scented plants that enable the moths to find your nectar rich plants, even under darkness. It's also important to provide plants for moth caterpillars. To see which moths are living in your outdoor space, explore with a low-intensity torch to not interrupt their life cycle or leave them open to predation.

Garden Tiger Moth

Step-by-step guide

1

Just as we enjoy a glass or two of something in the evening, so do many moths. This activity is all about growing the right flowers which moths need for nectar. You can create a whole border selected for moths, but it's fine to grow moth-friendly plants amongst your bee and butterfly plants.

2

Buy or grow a selection of the best nectar-rich plants for moths. For night-flying moths in summer plant:

  • Nicotiana alata - grow in the flower bed
  • Jasmine - a climber to grow up a trellis
  • Honeysuckle - a climber to grow up a trellis or into a tree
  • Hemp-agrimony - a perennial plant about 1m tall, with soft, lilac heads of flowers, that will form a bigger and bigger clump each year
  • Sweet rocket - a beautiful plant for the flower border you can grow from seed each year.
  • Jasmine clotted cream - a highly scented plant
  • Evening primrose

 

3

For night-flying moths in autumn try:

  • Ivy
  • Michaelmas daisy
  • Sedum spectabile
4

Moths also need plants for their caterpillars to feed on. Different species feed on different plants, so your garden will be home to many moth species if you grow a bounty of trees, shrubs, flowers and grass. The greener your garden, the better it will be for moths.

5

Go moth spotting. At night, walk around your garden with a low intensity torch, looking to see if any visitors are drinking the nectar from your flowers.

Try to reduce your garden lighting as much as possible, as this will attract moths and may kill them. Candlelight is great as it doesn't upset the moths and gives you the perfect setting for a relaxing evening!

 

What you will need

  • Moth-friendly plants
  • Somewhere to plant the plants
  • Torch
  • Trowel
  • Watering can
  • White sheet