We love butterflies! And absolutely the most sought-after plant in spring is butterfly weed or milkweed. It's botanical name is Asclepias currasavica, also known as tropical milkweed or Mexican milkweed. It is extremely easy to grow and is a sure-fire way to bring Monarch butterflies to your yard. Monarchs will only lay eggs on milkweed because that is what their caterpillars eat. Link to our butterfly blog post for more info.
You would not believe the lengths we go to at Buchanan's to have enough milkweed to fill the demand in spring. Since milkweed typically attracts aphids, some growers control the pests with insecticides, which is not good for caterpillars. Buchanan's uses no insecticides on the plants and to ensure the safety of the plants we sell, we "quarantine" new shipments of milkweed for 10 days until we are sure the plants are safe for caterpillar consumption. We have found this process to be successful and hope you can appreciate how much we care about your butterflies. The last thing we want is for a plant from Buchanan's to kill baby butterflies!
Monarchs are not the only butterflies we love. And there are many, many other plants that attract all kinds of butterflies. Variety is the key to planning a butterfly garden. The more diverse your plant "menu", the less likely you will have unwelcome insects, and the more butterflies you will attract. To learn more about host plants and nectar plants visit the North American Butterfly Association website.
You can't love butterflies and not love hummingbirds, too! Luckily, many of the plants butterflies like are also favorites of hummingbirds. Hummers, being bigger, need more nectar and that is why it's a good idea to supplement early spring nectar supplies with a couple of hummingbird feeders. Just saying.
We're not going to complain ever again about the rain! And it may be here this weekend so bring your brolly and visit us anyway!
Happy butterfly gardening!