Butterflies are approaching their peak season this month. This is the time of year when more are seen than any other time of the year. Plants that butterflies love, include pentas, plumbago, milkweed, gaillardia, salvias, jatropha and lantanas to name a few.
Want to attract birds to your garden? Adding larger shrubbery or trees to provide cover and nesting areas will help. Food sources such as hollies will also attract birds. Add in a bird bath with some cover close by for the birds to duck into and you will have a bird habitat!
Want to attract Hummingbirds: Try using some of these plants- bottlebrush, butterfly bush, hibiscus, lantana, Salvias, Firebush, Coral Honeysuckle Vine, Agapantha or Pentas to name a few.
Every piece of fruit is created because of a pollinator. There are 316 varieties of native bees in Florida and countless honeybees cultivated by beekeepers. Promote pollinators by installing a pollinator garden by leaving bare spaces for soil dwellers to make their homes, plant flowers (natives especially), provide a water source and habitat and reduce the use of chemicals.
Cultural, mechanical and biological control measures for pests should be considered:
Cultural– right plant/right place
Mechanical or physical control- mulching to suppress weeds, pruning to remove disease and hand picking off pests when possible.
Biological– figure out the good, the bad and the “buggly”! Some bugs are good bugs-predators that will help control pests such as lady bugs and assassin bugs, to name two.
If all else fails, use a pesticide that is least toxic such as horticultural oils, spinosad, insecticidal soap or BT (Thuricide) for caterpillars. Never spray when bees are foraging or flowers are present- and always spray later in the day when they are less active.