North: Butterfly Island Planting Tips

Lynn Coulter
Print Friendly

butterflies on plant

To attract butterflies to your northern butterfly island bed, Home Depot Muddy Boots reporter Yoseph says you’ll want to offer food, nectar, and habitat for the adults and caterpillars. These delicate visitors need protection from wind, too. Yoseph, based in Seattle, and Dinah, a Muddy Boots reporter from Connecticut, suggest growing shrubs and flowers with red, yellow, orange, pink, or purple blossoms.
 
Yoseph’s Tips:

  • Look for flat flower heads with small multiple florets, such as asters. These give butterflies a “landing pad” to rest, sip nectar, and pollinate the plants.
  • Grow plants with short tubes, like marigolds, so the butterflies can reach the nectar.
  • Choose native and naturalized plants.

Dinah’s Tips: 

“The right soil is crucial. For an in-ground garden, supplement your native soil with Vigoro or Miracle-Gro Garden Soil at a 50-50 ratio. Adding peat moss and well-cured compost is also beneficial, since our soil has quite a bit of clay in it and is quite acidic. Topping off the soil with mulch not only helps retain moisture, but also minimizes weeds. The mulch also adds a foundation of beauty to the garden that enhances the blooms.”

Crystal, a Muddy Boots reporter in New York, adds, “Be sure to put down landscape fabric to prevent weeds (even with fabric, some weeds manage to escape through).”

Dinah, Crystal, and Yoseph’s plant picks:

Container plants such as fuchsias, sweet alyssum, garden sage, dianthus, and lavender

Annuals

Ageratum

Alyssum

Marigold

Zinnia

Dinah says, “What’s great about perennials is that they come back every year, so they’re an investment in a well-planned garden. Many perennials are drought tolerant, making them virtually maintenance free!”

Perennials

Aster

Black-eyed Susan

Bee Balm

Butterfly bush

Salvia

Daisy

Echinacea (purple coneflower)

Lilacs

Sea holly

Catmint

Russian sage

Phlox

Verbena

Stella d’Oro daylily

Ornamental grasses -“Great for the back if your bed is against a fence or house, or as a center focal point for beds away from structures,” Crystal says.

Vines 

Wildflowers, including Butterfly weed, Bleeding Heart, and Lupine

Herbs, such as garden mint, oregano, and thyme

Plant selections vary by store. A Garden Center associate will be glad to help if you don’t see what you’re looking for.

Image: Shutterstock/Krivosheev Vitaly

 

Got questions about this article or any other garden topic? Go here now to post your gardening ideas, questions, kudos or complaints. We have gardening experts standing by to help you!