Monarch Butterfly Attracting Plants

Monarch Butterfly Attracting Plants include varieties which feed the adults and the caterpillars, the larval form of butterflies.  For any adult butterflies to be attracted to your garden, there must be food sources, water and shelter from wind and predators.  Masses or drifts of brightly colored flowering plants with large flower surfaces will encourage the greatest number of butterfly visitors to linger in your gardens.

Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on species of Asclepias, cocaterpillar on milkweedmmonly known as milkweed.  The adults feed on the nectar of the plants and also lay their eggs on the stems.  The eggs hatch into caterpillars and the eating begins!  Milkweeds are vigorous growers once established, so the foliage will regrow after the caterpillars are done munching.

There are many varieties of perennial milkweed.  Below are four that are hardy in our  Prescott area:

Horsetail milkweedAsclepias subverticillata, Horsetail Milkweed

Asclepias speciosa, Showy milkweedShowy milkweed for monarch caterpillars

 

 

 

antelope horn milkweedAsclepias asperula, Antelope Horn Milkweed

Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Weed

Monarch butterfly attracting plants

 

 

 

 

While many brightly colored flowering plants will attract mature butterflies, a few species are especially favored.

Ericameria nauseosus, commonly known as Rubber Rabbit Brush, is the preferred nectar plant for mature Monarchs according to Cathy and Bob Gessner, representatives of SW Monarch Watch in the Prescott AZ area.

Rabbit brush for mature monarch butterflies

This plant is a drought tolerant, sun-loving evergreen shrub in the sunflower family.  It has silvery-green foliage and prolific yellow blooms in late summer and fall.  Native to the western US, it is slowly becoming known for its low maintenance and long blooming habit.

Buddleia davidii, appropriately known as Butterfly bush, is another butterfly magnet more commonly found in area gardens.  These are large dense, drought tolerant, long blooming shrubs covered with large flower spikes throughout the summer.  Different cultivars, or varieties, offer purple, red, pink, and yellow blossoms, all attractive to mature butterflies as a source of nectar.

Butterfly magnet butterfly bush

butterfly bushes attract butterflies

 

 

 

 

 

If attracting Monarch Butterflies to your garden is your goal, then these are the plants to incorporate in your garden.

Contact us to learn where you can purchase and how to plant Monarch Butterfly Attracting Plants.

Vegetable Companion Planting

Vegetable Companion Planting is the subject of many books and articles. According to Louise Riotte in her book Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Vegetable Companion PlantingCompanion Planting for Successful Gardening, “Plants that assist each other to grow well, plants that repel insects, even plants that repel other plants — all are of great practical use.  They always have been, but we are just beginning to understand why.”

The challenges of vegetable gardening in the greater Prescott area are many, from water to weather to soil composition.  So, we choose to utilize all potentially beneficial techniques even if not scientifically proven.  And, we recognize this is a departure from our commitment to offer science-based information.  As Louise Riotte indicates, this is part magic, part mystery and based on empirical findings.

We have created a chart which summarizes companion planting suggestions for many popular vegetables from Carrots Love Tomatoes for your reference.

COMPANION PLANTING FOR VEGETABLES

summarized from Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte

Vegetable Good Companions Avoid
Asparagus Basil, parsley
Beans Carrots, beets, corn Onions, sunflowers
Bush Beans Cucumbers
Beets Onions, lettuce, dill
Cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kale Aromatic plants such as dill, onions Tomatoes, pole beans
Carrots Onions, tomatoes
Corn Peas, beans, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, marigold, sunflowers
Cucumbers Beans, peas, radishes, sunflowers No aromatic herbs
Eggplant Green beans
Fennel NONE Not in vegie gardens!
Lettuce Cucumbers, carrots, radishes
Onion Beets, tomato, lettuce Peas, beans
Parsley Carrot, tomatoes, roses
Pea Carrots, radishes, cucumber, corn, beans Onions
Peppers Basil
Pumpkins Corn
Radish Beet, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, squash, pole beans
Squash Radishes, nasturtiums
Tomato Basil, chives, onion, parsley, marigold, nasturtium, carrot Brassicas, corn

PLANNING FOR SUCCESSFUL VEGETABLE GARDENING

Additionally, remember that you want to attract diverse pollinators to your garden. Planting a variety of flowering plants with varying bloom colors, blossom sizes, blossom shapes, and bloom season will attract the most pollinators to your garden.  Add water and shelter and you will have a habitat that encourages these beneficial critters.

We hope you find this information helpful in making your vegetable gardening experience a joyful one.  Contact us to learn more about Vegetable Companion Planting

Prescott Area Vegetable Gardening

Prescott Area Vegetable Gardening is a joy and a challenge given our spring Prescott Area Vegetable Gardeningdrought, variable weather temperatures, soil conditions, and alkaline water. Consider techniques noted below to address these challenges for bountiful produce!

Our climate pattern is one of precipitation in the winter and summer, and drought in the spring and fall.  So, at a time when seeds and vegetable starts need ample water, Mother Nature does not help.  Supplemental water must be provided regularly to assure the plants get off to a good start.  The summer monsoons do help, yet rainfall must be at least .25″ to count as a watering cycle.  Put a rain gauge in your garden to determine rainfall amounts.

Our day and night time temperatures fluctuate significantlyPrescott Area Vegetable Gardening during the late spring.  It is not uncommon to have freezing or near freezing temperatures and even snow during May.  Typically Mother’s Day is the earliest gardeners can reliably plant tender annuals and perennials, though protection from the elements is still strongly encouraged.  I pay attention to local weather forecasts and use walls-of-water to protect against low temperatures and the winds typical of our spring.

Our soils provide another challenge to successful vegetable gardening.  In general, vegetable plants prefer a soil with neutral pH which allows the roots to utilize the nutrients and elements found in the soil.  Our soil is markedly alkaline and this makes nutrients and elements unavailable for use by the plants.  The regular addition of organic matter in the form of well composted compost, manures, seed meals, and liquid acidifiers slowly moves the soil pH toward neutral.

Our soils also are poor in both nitrogen and phosphorous, requiring supplementation of each on a regular basis.  Amendments which help with alkalinity also help to provide nitrogen and to feed the soil organisms responsible for healthy plant growth. Phosphorous must be added, preferably in the root zone, in the early spring for most effective uptake by vegetable plants.  The alkalinity of our soils hinders phosphorous uptake, so be generous in your application.  We recommend the use of triple phosphate as bone meal takes significantly longer to break down to become available to the plants.

Our Prescott area water is all from underground aquifers.  Since it travels through our alkaline granitic soils, it too becomes alkaline in nature.  So, every time you water you move the chemical composition back toward alkalinity! Therefore, the addition of organic matter to counter this trend must be an ongoing process.  Harvesting rain water for use on your vegetable garden is helpful too, as rainwater is neutral in pH.

Contact us for more information about Prescott Area Vegetable Gardening.