Transition Zone: Butterfly Island Planting Tips

Lynn Coulter
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butterfly on rose 

To attract butterflies to your Transition Zone garden, choose plants that provide food for caterpillars and nectar for adult butterflies. Home Depot’s Muddy Boots reporter Cynthia, who is based in North Texas, recommends choosing plants that can survive this zone’s hot summers when you create your butterfly island bed.

“We have lovely Monarchs and mainly Swallowtails here in North Texas,” Cynthia says. “Our biggest concern is in keeping our plants watered and happy through the hot weather ahead.” To keep your plants going, and to conserve water that might be lost by sprinklers, she suggests using soaker hoses. It’s also a good idea to cover the ground with several inches of mulch to help retain moisture.

“I have many of the plants below in a full-sun bed in my side yard, where I had to replace an oak tree,” Cynthia says. Butterflies flock to these plants, which are available in their favorite colors: pink, red, orange, purple, and yellow.

Salvia/Sage

Gallardia

Marigold

Coneflower

Tickseed

Sedum

Amaranth

Celosia

Roses, including the “‘bulletproof climber,” Lady Banks

Lantana

Zinnia

Hibiscus

To offer food for caterpillars, plant herbs like rue, dill, fennel, and parsley. Don’t worry about holes in your leaves; the caterpillars have to eat before they can turn into beautiful butterflies. Avoid using pesticides, so your winged visitors can enjoy your garden as much as you do.

Plant selections vary by store; vendor availability and weather may affect inventories. A Garden Center associate can help you find what you’re looking for or suggest alternatives.

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

Image: Shutterstock/Yganko

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