Butterfly Gardening Resources
Sometimes creating a butterfly garden can seem like an overwhelming task when you don’t know where to turn for resources and supplies. Over the past few years I’ve come across some amazing products and services that have helped me in my pursuit of butterfly garden excellence. As Oprah likes to say, “when you know better…you do better!”
These butterfly garden resources are some of the tools that can help you achieve greater success with your butterfly garden.
These are the garden tools that make your gardening tasks easier, safer, more efficient, and ultimately more enjoyable:
I personally use these and they are my favorite gardening gloves because they’re thin and they dry out fast. Buy 4 or more pairs for best pricing.
This collapsible garden wagon comes in red, blue, pink, or green and is an excellent garden tool for moving plants and other garden supplies around your yard. It also comes in handy for plant sales. The tires are rubber so you’ll never go flat.
Every gardener needs a good set of pruning shears for plant care (or to take stem cuttings) throughout the year. There are lots of 4-5 star consumer rated pruning shears to choose from.
Use these handy clips with stakes to keep tall plant stalks from flopping over, allowing you to better see butterfly visitors in the garden. We use these on our liatris plants.
Organic Pest Control
It’s frustrating when you put so much hard work into the garden only to have it decimated by destructive pests. Most small insects are tolerable, but rabbits and deer can take the destruction to a whole new level…did I mention they both eat milkweed?!
A one-and-done solution for keeping out those pesky rabbits. Galvanized steel is also resistant to rusting.
Butterfly Gardening Books
When I started this website, I was surprised to find there weren’t any books about creating a butterfly garden specifically for attracting and supporting monarchs. So, I gathered all the monarch-specific gardening info I could find and created this helpful butterfly garden resource:
In Bring Home The Butterflies Volume I, I reveal 8 butterfly garden tips that have brought us more monarchs than I ever though possible. 2017 Updated Links and Resources
Other Resource Pages
Find nectar plants and host plants (besides milkweed) for your butterfly garden.
There are many varieties of milkweed you can plant to attract monarchs. Check out 25+ garden variety options.
A natural extension of gardening to attract monarchs is raising monarchs to release in your butterfly garden. It’s an amazing and awe inspiring activity that you can experience inside your home, or in a 3-season porch!
Get first hand gardening tips and planting info from experts in your region.
Container Gardening allows you to break up your garden and put pots in places that are more convenient like on a patio or the edge of a raised bed. You can also raise monarch caterpillars on potted plants.
Choose from a variety of attractive and functional planters to make a statement in your garden. Container plants also give you the option to rearrange your garden during the season.
Coco Coir is a multipurpose growing media alternative to using peat moss, sphagnum moss, or rock wool. It has a high water holding/retention capacity and high air filled porosity that extends your soil supply. Coconut coir is beneficial for plants and earthworms, without harming the environment. Mix this in with all-purpose potting soil.
We’ve used many potting soils over the years and they’ve all worked pretty well. There are many good soil options at local nurseries and big box stores.
Fertilizers and Compost
The nutrients your milkweed and butterfly plants will need to truly thrive…
Improve the soil quality in your garden by adding pre-mixed compost or make your own with a composting bin.
This year we’re using a combination fish/seaweed fertilizer by Neptune to promote healthy foliage and flowering. I was apprehensive about the potential fish-smell, but the subtle odor dissipates quickly after being applied.
We’ve used this the past couple seasons and had great results on milkweed and other garden plants. We will continue to use this growing forward.
Some gardeners also use an all-purpose slow release fertilizer that continuously feeds plants nutrients throughout the season. The advantage to continuous, slow-release plant food is that you don’t have to apply it on a weekly basis.
Vertical Gardening takes your butterfly garden to new heights, maximizing your available space. Arbors and trellises are popular structures for vertical gardens, but you can also start by using a fence.
A variety of stylish, high-quality arbors for unwavering butterfly vine support. Most of these include free shipping, as do the trellises below.
We utilize 3 trellises in our garden to extend our garden borders north. Choose from a large assortment of quality garden trellises at affordable prices.
Hang these convenient planters directly on your fence, patio, or balcony. Are there plants you don’t grow because of rabbits? These planters make Bugs & friends a non-issue!
Misting & Watering
Water is an essential component of butterfly garden success…and in more ways than you might think. Of course, you need water for healthy butterfly garden plants. But water is also a resource that can help you attract and sustain more butterflies.
Butterflies love to keep cool during the dog days of summer…so do birds and people! In the hottest summer months the butterflies follow me around the yard when I spray down plants. They actually go through the sprinkler! Since it’s wasteful to water during the day (much of the water evaporates because of the hot sun) I had an idea.
A misting system only uses a fraction of the water a sprinkler does. It can cool down butterflies, your pets, and you without getting everyone sopping wet. The 25 foot system should suffice if you are doing this for just the butterflies.
A rain barrel makes a fine addition to the butterfly garden and can add beauty along with an extra water source to keep your plants happy. You can find a much wider selection of these online than you can locally. Many rain barrels are affordably prices with free shipping to your home.
Grow Plants From Seeds
Starting seeds indoors is good for the soul…and your bank account! I start seeds for plants that aren’t readily available in our region and also for plants that need more time to reach full maturity.
A good seed starting kit provides all the tools you will need to get your seeds to start growing for the new season.
Once I introduced this to the seed-starting process, our seeds sprouted faster and it also increased the germination rate…a must-have for more efficient seed starting.
Once your seeds have sprouted, 4″ nursery pots are the perfect size to grow your seedlings until you move them outside. Then, wash them out and reuse next season…
A disposable alternative to the nursery pots listed above. Make 3 small drainage holes in the bottom of each cup.
It’s important to use a soil that holds moisture and contains small enough particles so that root growth is not impeded.
A convenient way to give your plants the humid environment they need to grow and the shelves give you more space for plants.
This is the type of light your seedlings need to grow and thrive when they’re growing inside in the dead of winter.
Compact fluorescent grow lights are an easy lighting solution for most because many of these lights fit in standard home sockets. For more powerful lights, there are socket adapters or the T5 lights listed above. These are a great option for overwintering mature plants.
Seedlings tend to grow tall, spindly and can easily break. You can strengthen yours by keeping a light breeze on them similar to what they’d experience outdoors. Clip on fans are a good option because you can attach them to shelving, furniture, or just place them on a table near your plants.
Tie these small bags around milkweed pods in the fall so seeds don’t blow away before you can harvest them. These attractive seed savers also make excellent gift bags for milkweed seed gifts.
Grow Plants From Cuttings
Starting new plants with cuttings has two main advantages. Cuttings grow faster than seedlings and they are much sturdier when you plant them outside in spring. Cuttings are an excellent way to start tropical milkweed plants.
I had tried a more elaborate plant cloning system but I switched back to my simple system because it was more successful. The only non-household item I use to root cuttings is ato place the cuttings containers on.
Check out my step-by-step process for rooting milkweed cuttings here.
Butterfly Garden Signs, Banners, and Flags
Once you’ve got your garden planted, it’s time to put some personal touches on it that make it decidedly yours…and the butterflies! Butterfly Signs and flags are emerging in popularity and there are many to choose from to fit your personal garden style.
This holographic butterfly spinner is actually in our garden. I love when it blows in the wind because the monarch butterfly appears to be flying. I’ve actually seen monarchs flying by the sign before and one even landed on it. Do they actually recognize it as a butterfly??
Many butterfly gardens are created as lasting tributes to someone special that is no longer with us including parents, military members who made the ultimate sacrifice, and children that have left this earth far too soon.
Memorial butterfly garden stones are a beautiful way to make a special tribute to the person that inspired your garden:
Minnesota Butterfly Gardening
Those of you from Minnesota are in luck! As a Minnesota butterfly gardener, I’m also aware of some great local resources if you prefer to shop at nurseries and plant sales. When you combine these local options with the online ones, you’ll always find exactly what you need:
This isn’t a small school plant sale like the name might imply. This 3 day event is held annually over Mother’s day Weekend at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand. It boasts a large selection of native and exotic butterfly plants, plus anything else you might desire for your Minne-garden.
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