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Show #429/4103. Keeping Our Gardens In Harmony With The Environment

Do You Want Butterflies?

BUTTERFLIES ARE ANOTHER GARDEN FAVORITE. That is probably because of the - double your pleasure aspect. One gets beautiful butterflies, but also a lot of great looking plants because it takes pretty flowers to attract adult butterflies. But there are 2 groups of plants that a gardener must raise to have a lot of butterflies. One needs the larval food plants but with them one must tolerate the chewing of the caterpillars which are needed to hatch out pupae which turn into adult butterflies that then come to your beautiful flowering plants. Thus the caterpillars aren't all bad, one must tolerate them. Let them chew on their plants.

The nectar producing plants cross a broad range that offer interest from early in the year throughout the summer. Sonchus oleraceus Thistles are one of the early flowers. Lantana camara lantana is a fantastic nectar flower, Lantana is native to the Southern Sonora Desert region. There is white Lantana which is used throughout the country. Color-wise purple, pink, white and yellow are good choices for butterflies. Tithonia fruiticosa Mexican Sunflower Bush is one of George's favorites.

Always be careful using pesticides in a garden that attracts butterflies. Insecticides kill insects. If you want butterflies, minimize the use of insecticides, use it at specific times of the year only, but absolutely minimize the use of insecticides. A narrow window or don't use it at all, is Richard's philosophy.


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By Lisa Bartlett, Smith Gilbert Gardens

Spring ephemerals are some of the first plants to flower in the early spring long before most trees leaf out. They tend not to like the heat and will quickly disappear if temperatures get above 80 degrees. Spring ephemerals leaf out, bloom, go to seed, spread themselves about and then enter dormancy; they don't really die. All this happens in a two-month period, making them some of the most efficient of the flowering plants. That is what makes these plants so very special. Read more...


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