Spring is finally here and I thought this would be a good time to discuss two of the most common questions we get at the nursery. How can I get butterflies in my yard and how can I keep mosquitoes out of my yard? Two different problems, two different plant lists, but what a beautiful garden they create!
Attract the butterflies by planting food for the caterpillars!
Butterfly Weed or Mexican Milkweed is an all around great plant for any butterfly garden, but especially tasty for Monarch caterpillars!
Bronze Fennel is a host plant for many butterfly species and it’s smoke-like texture adds movement and interest to any bed.
White-veined Hardy Dutchman’s Pipe is a lovely little groundcover and a feast for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars!
Curly Parsley can be eaten by humans and caterpillars alike!
Just as you plant berries for birds, you plant blooms for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. These are must haves for season long enjoyment!
Porterweed is loved by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. There are purple, blue, red, and coral varieties, a color for every garden! They are tropical and I have rarely had them come back from a freeze, but the hummingbirds love them so much I keep planting them every year anyways!
White Cat Whiskers are a super tough little perennial that will be covered with pretty pollinators all summer long!
Purple Duranta is a very large growing perennial so be sure to plant where you have space. They need room to stretch, but they are super hardy and easy to grow. Always a hit with the winged crowd!
Bottlebrush is a plant you may be familiar with, but oh my how the bees and hummingbirds love them!
Really, bees and butterflies will be attracted to anything with a flower, but these few seem to buzz with activity all year long! (Pun totally intended!)
On to the issue of the beasts… if you’ve attracted all of these lovely butterflies to your garden, the last thing you want to do is kill them trying to avoid the mosquitoes. Keep the chemicals away! If you must spray, go organic and try to minimize the spraying to only those plants or areas that require it. Better yet, plant a few aromatic herbs around the patio and garden areas that will send them in search of more hospitable yards.
Lemon Grass is a very large, culinary grass and a natural producer of citronella which is of course used in everything from sprays to candles. The wonderful citrus-y smell keeps those bloodsuckers far, far away!
Yep! Focaccia bread isn’t the only use for rosemary, it can also be a useful mosquito deterrent.
The strong Society Garlic smell keeps away the mosquitoes and it produces a pretty little lavender flower and upright texture to your flowerbeds.
Mint is another edible herb that mosquitoes prefer to avoid. Plus, in the heat of summer you always have fresh mint for tea or mojitos! I would advise keeping it in a pot unless you want it everywhere.
With these few plants in your garden, you can absolutely have the best of both worlds!