Maintaining A Butterfly Garden

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This article will teach you how to maintain a butterfly garden.
by Brett · All Zones · Theme Gardens · 0 Comments · August 30, 2010 · 4,473 views

Summer Care of the Butterfly Garden

Your butterfly garden will need attention throughout the growing season. Weed control and provision for adequate moisture are two important cultural necessities. Through the first warm season, when rainfall is less than 1 inch per week, provide additional moisture to unestablished plants that need it.

The use of a mulch is an attractive and effective means of controlling weeds and maintaining soil moisture and temperature for the root systems of your plants. Mulches that you might consider include shredded wood mulch or pine straw. To be effective, the mulch should be applied at about 4 inches thick around the plants. If you are using shredded wood mulch, go no more than 2 inches thick. When wood mulches are piled too high, it can block moisture from getting to the soil, and funguses can develop in the mulch as well.

Fertilization

Fertilize your annual and perennial plants as needed during the growing season. Fertilize shrubs and trees as recommened here. If you make your own compost, you can substitute or ammend fertilizer with this. Discontinue fertilization of plants about a month or so before typical first frost date.

Pruning and Deadheading

You may deadhead (remove spent or faded flowers) from your perennials and annuals all season long. Deadheading often encourages the development of new flowers.

In late Fall or early Winter, when your perennials have died back, you may remove dead foliage.

WARNING: Do not prune back Lantanas in the Fall, doing so will ensure death of the plant. Wait until new growth begins to emerge in Spring to prune back Lantana. Then you can remove all dead growth.

After cutting back dead foliage in late Fall or Winter you may want to winterize the perennial plants in your butterfly garden garden by applying an inch or two of loose mulch or compost around the plants.

Pest Control

As with hummingbird gardening, DO NOT use toxic pesticides on your butterfly plants! They can be deadly to butterflies and caterpillars if sprayed directly onto your flowers. Instead, take preventive measures or select safe, organic pest control substances to help control unwanted garden insects.




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