Posts Tagged ‘Attract butterflies’

Swamp Milkweed Plants Bring Monarchs to Your Butterfly Garden

June 30th, 2014

One of the truly wonderful aspects of butterfly gardening is that the most effective plants for such are perennials and natives.  Key to attracting and providing for the most butterflies possible is to provide attractive plants that actually play roles in providing for local or migrating butterfly populations.  Choosing native plants that thrive in the specific type of soil and moisture level your garden offers can be tricky, but two plants that are hosts for two specific butterflies are probably excellent choices for some portion of your butterfly garden: swamp milkweed.

Host Monarchs with Swamp Milkweed Plants

Swamp milkweed plants are the primary host for the monarch, which makes its migration over thousands of miles every year, and also attracts a wide variety of other butterflies.  Proper plants are crucial to the success of this momentous trek, and swamp milkweed, coincidentally, is native to all but seven of the United States of America.  Spreading by rhizomes, swamp milkweed plant produce attractive blooms of white to light pink, grows up to 24 inches high, and produces dense, bushy clusters of both large and multitudinous blooms.  Showy and beautiful, swamp milkweed belongs wherever it will thrive since its survival means greater hope for monarch butterflies who accomplish great things for pollination to support a wide variety of gardens, from flower to food and everything in between.

Partial to sun-to-part shade planting, swamp milkweed Plants is true to its name, preferring moist to wet conditions in zones 3-9.  Fragrant, these beautiful natives are easy to grow and extremely resilient.  Many gardeners laud them as being deer resistant.  Although they do attract aphids, their presence in the garden rarely leads to pest infestation as birds, ladybugs, and other predators swoop in to consume the aphids attached to swamp milkweed.

Flowering from June to August, swamp milkweed brings delicate romance to any garden in the potentially brutal heat of summer.  Even gardens that are not particularly moist might benefit from the attractive qualities of swamp milkweed if clay is present in the soil and more frequent watering may be done.

Including these plants in your butterfly garden ensures that these lovely lepidoptera specimens will find their way to your home: monarch butterflies.  Meanwhile, layering for height, bloom season, and color creates a naturally pleasing aesthetic.


Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus Milkweed

Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus Milkweed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Butterfly Gardens Create Colorful Beauty and Provide a Habitat for Caterpillars and Butterflies

May 14th, 2014

Butterfly Gardens Provide Habitat, Perpetuate Gardens, and Help to Conserve Flora and Fauna

Several times a week, I am asked what one thing I might suggest another person do to help the environment, conserve gardens, and/or improve the general landscape of our community.  Time and again, my suggestion is that the singular best and simplest way to make a positive impact on the environment is to cultivate a butterfly garden.  More often than not, though, that suggestion is met with this response: “I don’t have the foggiest idea how to start butterfly gardening — you’ll have to help me.”

The truth is, there are few things I enjoy more than introducing others to the art of planting gardens to attract butterflies.  With so many challenges facing the lives of pollinators, any help home gardeners, civic organizations, and even companies or municipalities may provide the diverse butterfly population is worth the time, effort, and investment.

Butterflies are Gardeners, Too

The most important factor in developing your own butterfly garden is choosing plants for butterflies.  Not every flower assures your garden will attract butterflies, but certain plants are natural choices for specific butterflies who will either lay their eggs upon the leaves or feast upon the nectar.

Egg-laying butterflies instinctively choose plants that make proper hosts for their offspring.  While some gardeners cringe to imagine caterpillars munching holes through the leaves of their prized garden citizens, those gardeners who have selected specific butterfly plants in hopes of creating a butterfly garden of their own understand that the loss of a few leaves devoured during the larval stage is a small price for the benefits that the pollination-assisting butterflies deliver for the gardens in general.

Feasting on nectar gathered from flowers, butterflies provide invaluable assistance to flower-bearing plants.  Flitting from one flower to another, the butterfly pollinates the flowers, encouraging the propagation of the plant species.  Laying eggs on this same plant or another, the butterfly ensures the propagation of her own species.  This is the natural order of things.

Meanwhile, what horticulturists know and the general gardening population is coming to understand is that the role butterflies play in gardens extends far beyond the beauty and entertainment they provide.  Promoting pollination in gardens, butterflies help to ensure, too, a natural, organic escalation in produce yields from a variety of gardens.  Furthermore, wherever caterpillars and butterflies reside, birds will be attracted, too.  Acting as a food resource as well as a pollinator, butterflies attract birds that will consume large quantities of a variety of insects, many of them considered garden pests and potentially harmful to humans if not kept in check.

Butterfly resting on butterfly bush flower

Butterfly resting on butterfly bush flower

Six Ideal Butterfly Plants

Among the plants hopeful butterfly gardeners should consider incorporating into their own butterfly gardens are:

Native to the United States, these butterfly plants are better choices for a number of reasons, including environmental adaptations, pest resistance, and relationships to butterflies whose habitat is local or who pass through as they migrate far distances.  Selecting  all of these native plants simplifies any approach to butterfly gardening as the  the diversification of heights, colors, and flowering seasons the collection represents ensures a diverse range of butterflies to be attracted and a broad attraction season.

Bringing these flowers together in your own garden space, you’ll accomplish more than effective butterfly gardening. Your efforts will result, too, in increased wildlife habitat, promotion of food and flower plants, and conservation of flora and fauna.  Considering all this, it is easy to understand that developing a thriving garden designed to attract and host butterflies truly improves the world.

Check out our instant butterfly garden packages for ease and convenience.

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Simple Ways to Bring Butterflies into Your Garden and Yard Areas

April 8th, 2014

Try these simple ways to bring butterflies into your garden and yard areas for summer entertainment for you and your family.

As spring warms its way into summer, we see caterpillars crawling around looking for food. Try planting Spicebush to provide plenty of food for them.

Then before we know it, MAGIC! Butterflies are all around!

So…how can you bring butterflies into your garden?

Buy Butterfly Bush Plants Online

Butterfly on a butterfly bush bloom

Ways to attract butterflies to your yard are:

  • Keep the area protected from heavy winds
  • Limit pesticide use
  • Select fragrant, summer flowering shrubs & perennials for nectar
  • Have several plants for caterpillar food like the Spicebush
  • Have a few flat surfaces for resting such as a large flat stone
  • Provide shallow water sources

To attract your fair share of butterflies into your garden, plant shrubs and perennials that they enjoy such as buddleia (aka butterfly bushes), monarda,  coneflowers, coreopsis, yarrow, Black-eyed Susans and Russian sage.

The Butterfly Garden Package from Greenwood Nursery is a great value and contains all the plants, from caterpillar food to butterfly food, that you need for butterfly attraction!

Check out our Buddleia Bush Plants or see other plants that we offer that will attract butterflies to your garden.

Greenwood Nursery, founded in 1978, is an online plant nursery and garden center that has been shipping gardening plants to the home gardener since going online in 1998.

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How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden with Shrubs, Herbs and Perennial Plants

March 5th, 2013


What could be more enjoyable than sitting in your garden with lots of beautiful butterflies fluttering about? Gardeners are planting butterfly gardens, which not only have become a popular hobby, but, also, make for very beautiful gardens. While many gardeners plant amazing flower gardens with hopes of attracting butterflies, however, the butterflies don’t come because the wrong shrubs and perennial plants have been planted.

English: Français : Papillon monarque (Danaus ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes butterflies will not come to a garden because of pesticide use. The first thing you should do in planning for your butterfly garden is to rid the area of unwanted pests without using chemicals.

There are a few other things you can do to ensure that butterflies will come to your garden. Choose an area in your garden that is sunny with about 5 to 6 hours of sunlight per day, as adult butterflies only feed in the sun. The area needs to, also, be sheltered from heavy winds. As much as butterfly need to eat, they also do not want to fight harsh winds while trying to feed.

Another important aspect to a good butterfly garden is water. Like humans, butterflies need water. A couple of shallow bird baths where you can keep clean water will not only allow butterflies a drink, it will give them a place to rest.

There are two types of plants that butterfly use, those that provide food for the offspring and those that provide nectar for the adults. In a quote from the National Wildlife Federation, “Attracting butterflies involves incorporating plants that serve the needs of all life stages of the butterfly.” They go on to say, “The insects need places to lay eggs, food plants for their larvae (caterpillars), places to form chrysalides and nectar sources for adults.”

Most butterflies, including the Monarch butterfly, feed on buddleia, commonly called butterfly bushes, for nectar and milkweed to feed the caterpillars. Other ways to make the area more butterfly friendly are using flat stones or other large flat surfaces where butterflies can rest and spread their wings. Because butterflies are such delicate creatures, they will also need shelter and a little shade.

Plants that attract butterflies are buddleia or butterfly bushes, lavender, monarda or bee balm, veronica, salvia, rosemary, thyme, sage, roses, yarrow, lamb’s ear, hydrangea, weigela, rudbeckia, echinacea, Shasta daisy and yucca are excellent selections for a beginners butterfly garden.

Recap of How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden:

  • Limit pesticide use
  • Place your garden in a sunny area protected from heavy winds
  • Plant fragrant, summer flowering butterfly plants
  • Use flat surfaces for the butterflies to rest
  • Have a shallow water source

By adding some of these suggestions into your garden, you can attract butterflies all summer long.


Greenwood Nursery Your Online Garden Center


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Butterfly Bushes Make Welcoming Habitats for Butterflies and Hummingbirds

June 30th, 2012

Growing butterfly bushes is a popular hobby for many Americans? The enchanting colors of buddleia flowers, the bracing fragrance of the leaves, the hypnotic effect of the stems swaying back and forth, the sight of the trees rattling their leaves when touched by the gentle breeze, and of course, the green background of the landscape – all contribute to the uniqueness of a scenic butterfly garden. Hey wait a minute; is something missing? Yes, the butterflies!

English: Photograph of a Monarch Butterfly.

English: Photograph of a Monarch Butterfly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who doesn’t like to see a rabble of butterflies fluttering in the garden? Watching those colorful butterflies flit from one plant to another and circling in rabbles can be a great stress-relieving site for anyone. If your garden is without the butterflies then you might consider making it colorfully attractive by planting butterfly bushes.

Also referred to as summer lilac or buddleia, butterfly bushes are attractive flowering shrubs that can embellish the look of any garden. They grow fast, filling the neighboring space in quick time. And they flourish well in any type of well-drained soil; regardless of it is gravel, clay or sandy type. The butterfly bushes are flowering plants that provide a welcoming habitat for the butterflies and hummingbirds. Butterflies and bees love to feed on the nectar-rich flowers. One good thing about the butterfly bushes is that they don’t drop dead flowers.

Butterfly Bush Planting Tips

There are different butterfly bushes that thrive well in different climatic conditions. They generally spread quickly; hence should be planted at a distance of at least 6 feet away from each other, depending on the specific variety. The butterfly bushes grow at heights ranging from 5 to 15 feet, although some of the newer hybrids are small growing at 3 feet. Typically, they need at least six hours of direct exposure to sunlight everyday and should be watered regularly.

Maintenance and Variety

Butterfly bushes require regular trimming as they can grow fast in quick time. For best growth results, constant pruning of the dead petals should be done; this will make them bloom longer and grow denser. The ideal time for pruning is from July till the tail end of winter. There are over 100 varieties of butterfly bushes in the world. The flowering plants of butterfly bushes come in multiple colors ranging from red and blue to pink and purple to white and yellow and lots more. As a warning, do not use insecticides on your butterfly bushes as they can kill the butterfly larvae or sometimes even the butterflies.

Best Butterfly Habitats

Having butterfly bushes to attract the butterflies and humming birds is a great idea. But it would be wiser to think out of the box and create a friendly habitat for the butterflies. One such idea is to incorporate a few flat rocks in the surrounding area where the butterflies can enjoy and bask in the sun. Also, butterflies need some place to cool off. You can provide a relaxing habitat by including small muddy patches in your garden.

Butterfly bushes are available in a large variety of single colors- purple, orange, blue, red, pink etc. They are also available as bi-colored plants. A great selection of butterfly plants is available in smaller container sizes that are easiy affordable from Greenwood Nursery.


Check out ourInstant Butterfly Garden Plant Package that includes a butterfly house, too!

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Lavender Book Ahead Sale

January 24th, 2011

Bee on lavender flower
Image via Wikipedia

This week kicks off Greenwood’s Member’s Weekly Specials with our Lavender Book Ahead Sale. Between Friday, January 21st and midnight Thursday, January 27th, book yourlavender plants and SAVE 10% OFF your already low member prices. These are specially priced plants and will not be included on the Members Monthly Value Page.

When I think about my own garden, the first plants that come to mind are always my lavenders. They are planted near the garden gate and follow the walk down to the side porch and are even planted across from it. There is a small sitting area just off the side porch which on warm summer evenings you will find my family and me sitting, talking and enjoying the slight breezes of my lavender plants. These plants are also a delightful hangout for the local bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Word gets around!

This year we offer the English Lavenders, Mustead and Hidcote Blue, which are the lavender varieties used for culinary purposes but are, also, used dried in craft projects. Our French Lavenders are the Grosso and Provence which with their strong fragrant buds are used dried in crafts and distilled for their oil. The most adorable lavender variety is the Spanish Lavender with its bunny ears or pineapple shaped blooms like the Kew Red Lavender.

Special Lavender notes: The Grosso and Hidcote Lavenders are especially good for cooler climates. The Kew Red performs better than other lavender varieties in humid areas.

How to Dry Lavender:

  • Cut flowers in morning – after dew evaporates yet before heat of day
  • (Rubber) band together in bunches of about a dozen or so stems
  • Hang upside down in a warm dimly lit space with adequate ventilation
  • Dry for one to weeks – until stalks are completely dried
  • Once dried – dislodge the buds by rolling them back/forth in a towel or newspaper
  • Store buds in an air tight container

Use your Hidcote and Munstead blooms in late spring and summer dishes. Fresh blooms should be submerged into water for a minute to release any dirt or insects hanging on. Dry the fresh lavender by wrapping them in a towel and lightly squeezing them. Lavender mixes beautifully with herbs such as rosemarythyme and oregano.

Use fresh or dried lavender in the following dishes:

    • Chicken (especially roasted chicken – my favorite!)
    • Tuna or other strong flavored fish
    • Salads (fresh lavender preferably)
    • Stews
    • Custards
    • Sorbets
    • Chocolate
    • Jelly
    • Sweets – cookies and cakes
    • Heavy sauces (usually made with alcohol reductions/heavy creams)
    • Breads
    • Lavender honey – heat clean fresh blooms (no chemicals used) in regular or other flavored honey on low until lightly simmering. Strain flowers or leave in honey. Cool and store.


Remember, this Lavender Book Ahead Special will end midnight Thursday, January 27th. Lavender will begin shipping early to mid March. Book your order now to get your order scheduled.

Don’t forget to “Like” our NEW Fan Page to keep informed on new plants, specials and planting news from Greenwood Nursery.

Click here to view our Tips for Growing Lavender Video.

Questions? Feel free to drop me an email: Email Questions. As owner of Greenwood Nursery, I have always made myself available to our customer base to help with questions or concerns.  I’m here. Just let me know if you need any help.

Until next time…….Cheryl

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