The month of May has been very pleasant and perfect planting weather. You still have time to plant and I recommend planting herbs. Herbs are great for us to eat and also for many of our favorite butterfly caterpillars. Dill and parsley are important food sources for swallowtail caterpillars. I planted dill seed several weeks ago and it is coming up nicely. You still have time to plant the seed.
Plant herbs that have flowers beneficial to butterflies and bees. Consider planting basil, oregano, sage and thyme. I hope to get my basil plants in the ground later today before we get another nice rain tomorrow.
Hope your pollinator habitat is off to a good start this year and you are enjoying it as much as the pollinators and wildlife will.
BEE safe, MJ Frogge
Last week I started flower and herb seeds under grow lights. Some are already germinated and growing! Growing your own transplants is a great way to add annuals, perennials and herbs to your landscape for pollinators. I started basil, borage, blue salvia and calendula.
Spindly growth is a common problem when growing transplants indoors. It is best to place the seedlings under artificial light. It is not necessary to have a grow light plant stand. A standard shop light fixture with one cool and one warm fluorescent tube light works fine. For best results, the lights should be approximately 1 inch above the seedlings. Raise the light as the seedlings grow. Leave the lights on 12 to 16 hours a day.
Many flowers do well or better as direct planting outside. Plant zinnia and sunflower seeds after the chance for frost has past and the ground temperature is consistently warm, over 55 degrees F. This usually occurs in mid to late May.
We have garden thyme blooming in Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Soon I will be planting basil, dill, borage and parsley. Herbs are important plants to have in a pollinator habitat. The flowers are visited by bees and butterflies. Many butterfly caterpillars feed on the leaves of dill, borage, parsley and other herbs. If you plant several plants, you may get a few herbs for yourself!
Dill is an excellent larval plant for Swallowtail butterflies.
A corner of the habitat has been planted with herbs. Herbs are excellent larval and nectar plants for butterflies. We have planted borage, dill, parsley, basil, garlic chives, oregano and thyme. Swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on dill and parsley plants. The caterpillars feed on the plants until they pupate. I hope there will be lots of herb eating in the habitat this year. We can always plant more.