Southwest: Butterfly Island Planting Tips

Lynn Coulter
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butterfly on butterfly bush

If you live and garden in the southwest, our Muddy Boots reporter Gail recommends placing your butterfly island bed in a spot that gets at least six hours of sun each day. Gail, who is based in a Home Depot store in Garden Grove, California, likes to include plants for hummingbirds as well as butterflies.

“Where there are butterflies, you need to grow plants for (hungry) caterpillars, too, so you need to be forgiving of holes in the leaves! Reduce your use of pesticides in that area to zero, and live with the fact you will have bees coming around to pollinate, and wasps (usually nonaggressive) that will hunt the caterpillars a bit.” (Learn more here about pollinators that visit your garden.)

Gail recommends these flowers and herbs for caterpillars and butterflies:

  • ‘Black and Blue’ salvia
  • Mexican salvia – The plants will get large, but you can trim them as desired.
  • Butterfly bush, also called ‘Buddleia’ – This shrub can also get big. Prune it yearly to keep it under control.
  • Milkweed – These plants are often found growing wild along roadsides and in fields. Milkweed is a host plant for the caterpillars of Monarch butterflies.
  • Gaillardia
  • Yarrow
  • Asters
  • Dill and parsley –  Let these herbs set flowers to lure swallowtail butterflies to your yard.
  • Hollyhock
  • Snapdragons

Meet your Home Depot “Muddy Boots” associates, garden reporters from around the U.S.

Image: Shutterstock/Charles F. McCarthy

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