Monrovia Plant Savvy
design, inspiration and practical ideas from the plant experts. March 2013
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New Plant Varieties for 2013

Dear Savvy Gardener,


 

Who doesn’t love to see dainty, colorful butterflies in their garden? But of course, they’re more than cute and fun to watch, they are important pollinators! Here’s a quick review on ways to make your garden Butterfly-friendly.

First thing, don’t use pesticides, for obvious reasons! Secondly, embrace the caterpillar...not literally, but remember it’s the caterpillar that becomes the Butterfly. So we need to provide plants that supply food and shelter for the larvae, and we can’t get too upset when they chomp through a few leaves. Just put a few of the host plants in with other perennials to hide the nibbled foliage. The Butterfly Life website let’s you search by state to see what types of Butterflies live in your area. You can then find out which host plants they prefer. Many types of Grasses are enjoyed by Butterfly caterpillars, as are trees like Willow and Oak. Passion Flower vines, Ceanothus and Artemisia are a few more favorites.

More of Our Latest and Greatest
  Plum Passion® Hydrangea
leafgif   if you plant it, they will come

Plant some Milkweed and the Monarchs are sure to find it! Fortunately it is easy to grow, tolerant of poor soil and it flowers all summer long. Try Red Butterflies Milkweed, with dainty red and yellow flowers, or Silky Gold Milkweed that sports three-inch long clusters of golden-yellow blooms. These look great in a cut flower arrangement, too. (Just be sure to leave enough in the garden for the Butterflies!)

 

 
 
Butterflies Puddling

 

puddling anyone?

Your new winged friends enjoy “puddling,” or hanging out in mud or sand puddles where they can drink the water and ingest some much needed minerals. Create some puddles in your garden soil, or fill a shallow pan with sand and a little water and let the puddling begin! After a nice long drink, they’ll appreciate some flat rocks in your garden on which they can rest and sunbathe.

 

 
  Variegated Box-Leaf Azara
 

nectar-rich flowers

There are a few things to keep in mind when planting for Butterflies. They are attracted to bright colors, especially reds, oranges, yellows and purples; and they appreciate flat-topped flowers they can easily perch on, like Yarrow. Our new Strawberry Seduction has big velvety-red blossoms. Coneflowers offer good perching spots, too. Try the dwarf varieties like Kim’s Knee High or Pixie Meadowbrite; or the bright red Tomato Soup.


 
  Red Darling® Hibiscus
leafgif   on the butterfly menu

You can’t go wrong with the Butterfly Bush, also called Summer Lilac. As the name implies, they are a magnet for those pretty little pollinators. They come in a range of colors from white and pink to lavender and deep purple, they are nectar-rich, fragrant and a beautiful addition to the garden. If invasiveness is a problem in your area, look for the Lo & Behold® series and other varieties that won't set seed. Try the Blue Chip Dwarf, Lilac Chip or Purple Haze.

 

 
  Feelin' Sunny™ Deodar Cedar
leafgif   watch them flutter by

As you choose plants for Butterflies, opt for a variety of prolific bloomers that have a long flowering season. Brightly colored Phlox, like Candy Stripe, Emerald Blue or Red Wings are good choices. Tickseed is another Butterfly favorite. Check out our new golden yellow Pineapple Pie with a red eye; the stunning Pink Lemonade; the extra large yellow and red flowers on Route 66; and the deep red blooms frosted with white on Ruby Frost. Need more ideas? Look for Lavender, Pincushion Flower, Lantana and Penstemon.