Our very own Janet Fanning was recently interviewed by Sarah Claire McDonald from The Island Packet sharing her expertise in creating a beautiful garden that will attract butterflies all summer long.
Have you ever walked through a local botanical garden and longingly wished you could have your own butterfly garden at home?
As it turns out, it’s not too difficult to reimagine a butterfly haven in your own yard.
Having the right soil, having enough sunlight and adequate watering and caring for your flowers is all you need.
The preparation of the soils, getting a soil test to make sure you have the right environment for your plants, ideally at least some morning sun or a full day’s amount of sun as well as pre-made plans for the plants you’d like to have are all important beginning steps to creating an at-home butterfly garden, said Janet Fanning, manager for the The Greenery’s Hilton Head Island Garden Center. The Greenery’s Garden center is located on the island at 960 William Hilton Parkway.
Many pollinator plants, the best plants to select for such a garden, are sun-lovers.
The pollinator garden at the Garden Center holds a variety of plants that butterflies and bees love to orient themselves around and create a wonderful butterfly garden.
Passionvine, Salvia and Cuphea are predominant and necessary plants in a South Carolina butterfly garden. These brightly colored flowers even make up a majority of the Garden Center’s pollinator garden.
Many different varieties of Salvia are available and will bloom throughout the summer. They tend to be a group favorite for pollinators at the Garden Center. Cuphea also comes in several different varieties.
“If your goal is to host and take care of the Monarchs, a really important plant to have is Asclepias,” Fanning said.
Asclepias is also known as Milkweed and is essential for these butterflies.
The Monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on the Asclepias and the hatchlings will munch away at it. Eventually the caterpillars will then form their chrysalis and the butterfly will soon emerge, Fanning said about the asclepias’ importance to Monarch butterflies’ life cycle.
Dill is the similar equivalent of Milkweed as a host plant for the Swallowtail butterfly.
Buddleia, also known as butterfly bush, is a common addition to any butterfly garden as well.
Now is a good time to plan for your garden and to plant your pollinators. You can plug new plants into your garden all summer long until the temperatures begin to chill and potentially frost. However, the earlier you plant your Milkweed plant the better.
We’re fortunate here because we can garden for such a long time before the cold dormancy of winter then on to another long growing season, Fanning said.
Growers will want to focus primarily on the pollinator plants when starting their own garden. This is why initially planning the plants you want to include beforehand is essential.
It’s important to understand the necessary needs of each plant, the sunlight they require and how much they need to be watered. Watching the plants and pruning weak flower buds is also the key to maintaining your plants’ health and maximizing bountiful blooms.
Butterflies all live together. I recommend planting lots of different plants and having a jumble of color and texture in your garden, detailed Fanning. This is going to please the bees as well as the butterflies. Especially in the late summer you’ll notice the garden alive with movement.
“It’s a lot of fun honestly and it’s not hard to do,” Fanning said.
Fanning also noted that it is important to water your plants in the morning before the heat of the day to fully hydrate the plants and prepare them enough to tolerate the coming heat.
In midsummer they are just beautiful. You can see the humming and the buzzing and, with the Salvia, hummingbirds will visit them all the time too. So, they are a part of the equation. The butterflies, the bees and the hummingbirds all benefit, explained Fanning.
“The hummingbirds are incredible, but just watching the interplay with all of it is amazing. If you’re having a stressful day you go out to just see all of the butterflies, especially the Zebra Longwing which is my favorite, it’s truly just wonderful.”
Need help getting started on your butterfly garden? Visit us today at The Greenery Garden Center. We would be happy to help!
By: Sarah Claire McDonald – The Island Packet