Everyone loves butterflies (although their caterpillars are pretty annoying!). Who doesn’t like seeing a pretty little insect flitting from plant to plant?!
Container gardeners actually have an advantage when it comes to planning a butterfly garden because their entire balcony or patio is usually very close to their home. The absolute most important part of planning a butterfly garden is to place the plants somewhere you’ll actually be able to see the visiting butterflies. In that regard, it doesn’t get much better than a window box. Imagine hanging out in your living room or kitchen when something catches your eye in the window…
This window box plan uses a box that is 9 inches deep and 24 inches wide. Since the box is on the smaller side, see if you can find plants that are in 3 or 4 inch pots (except the lavender). If the fit is still pretty tight, wash the dirt away from your plants’ roots so that you can shrink the rootball.
- 2 dwarf coneflowers (look for ‘Kim’s Knee High,’ ‘Pica Bella,’ ‘Pixie Meadowbrite,’ ‘Little Giant PPAF,’ ‘Big Sky After Midnight’)
- 2 dwarf gaillardias (look for ‘Dwarf Goblin,’ among many others that are simply labeled “dwarf gaillardia”)
- 2 Yarrows
- 2 Creeping Jennies
- 1 Lavender
- 1 9×24 windowbox
- 1 small bag of potting soil
Here’s what to do…
- Attach the windowbox to the wall, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Fill the bottom of the window box with a few inches of soil.
- Place the lavender in the center of the window box. The soil line should be two inches below the lip of the window box. (Purple ‘L’)
- Add enough soil to the box so that when you place the remaining plants, their root balls will also be two inches below the lip.
- Place one creeping jenny on either side of the lavender (Green ‘C’), all the way in the front of the window box. Place one yarrow behind each creeping jenny (Yellow ‘Y’). Then place a coneflower in each back corner (Pink ‘C’) and a gaillardia in each front corner (Red ‘G’).
- Fill in with potting soil so that there are no spaces between plants and the soil level is even.
- Water the window box every other day for a week, then every third day for another week. After that, you should be able to water it only once a week (these are all pretty drought tolerant plants). When it is especially hot, water it as needed (you’ll know that water is needed by whether the leaves are drooping).
Be sure to keep a camera near the window so that you can snap up some great shots of the butterflies that visit! This is a great site to help you identify butterflies.