Planning A Butterfly Garden & Growing Potatoes Indoors

Question:

 I would like to attract more butterflies to our garden. What plants do I plant to encourage them to reside in our neck of the woods?

Answer:

  • Attracting butterflies to your garden can be a rewarding venture.
  • A Butterfly Garden is a mixture of perennials, annual plants, and some ornamentals. They can be rewarding as they attract hummingbirds and bees, not Yellow Jackets.
  • But for all their benefits, it may not be ideal for everyone.
    • The plants that attract butterflies are divided into two types, the host and nectar food plants. The adult butterfly uses host plants to lays its eggs on, while the nectar plants attract the mature adult butterflies.
    • The eggs hatch into caterpillars (ugh) that feed on the host plant, so be prepared for many chewed leaves. Baby caterpillars eat quite a lot and will make your plants look like they are being destroyed, but don’t worry about that; this is necessary for their survival.
    • The young caterpillars feed on the host plants until they form their cocoons and emerge later as adults.
    • If you don’t want to look at the eaten plants, plant them in the center or the back of your butterfly garden or in areas that are not highly visible. But don’t plant your host plants too far away from the nectar plants.
    • It’s best to plant them right next to each other or nearby, as the tiny caterpillars cannot travel far to find food. Most species of caterpillars are particular about the type of plants they eat.
    • If the eggs are not laid on the correct plant(s), the new caterpillars will not survive. Hence, planting a Butterfly Garden over a large area is not advisable. You will have fewer butterflies if you choose not to provide any host plants. Ceanothus, Penstemon, and Aster are a few of the host plants, while nectar plants include Toyon, Lantana, Marigolds Verbena, and Milkweed.
  •  Check your favorite garden centers for a handout for a complete list. And finally, here is an online resource.

Question:

 In a glass of water, I started a store-bought Russet Potato. It now has roots and some small leaves; can it be planted in soil and kept as a houseplant?

Answer:

  • Potatoes are funned and easy to grow, but I wouldn’t use them as a foliage plant.
  • They’re not a perennial plant; their life span is about four to six months. Indoors, they require a brightly lit location with lots of direct sun.
  • The end is near when they begin to flower. You could start another plant in three months to replace the current plant. Planting it in the soil will extend its life.
  • When you discard the old plant, don’t be surprised to find potatoes in the soil. Potatoes like beets, radishes, carrots, and other edibles are formed under the ground.