Discover the Fun of Gardening
The Kerby's E-Newsletter for March 30, 2017   

How many caterpillars does it take
to eat a milkweed plant?

A recurring theme in the newsletter this year has been the question: Why do you garden? And I think we are discovering that there are many, many reasons to garden: to relax and take a break from the hustle and bustle of life, to get our hands dirty and connect with the earth, to plant something that we can eat or use. We could fill a page with all of the possible reasons for gardening, and everyone's reasons will be a little different. But this week, our topic is one that almost everyone would agree is one of the most rewarding reasons to garden: Butterflies. With the exception of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory who called butterflies 'airborne worms' and one of the Kerby's cashiers who has a butterfly-phobia, I think just about everyone who gardens loves butterflies. They are magical aren't they? From an egg the size of a pin, to a voracious caterpillar that will eat every last leaf of milkweed in your garden, to a hanging chrysalis, to a new fluttering butterfly, all in the span of six to eight weeks! It is truly a miracle of nature, and one that is visible all around us.

And the great thing about butterflies is that it is easy to attract them to your backyard. With a few great plant choices, plenty of sun and warm temperatures, butterflies will quickly take up residence in your garden. If you need some ideas for creating your butterfly garden, or you just want to learn about the common butterflies in our area, come out to Kerby's this Saturday, April 1st at 10am for the Butterfly Gardening Workshop. Of course, don't forget that the Butterfly House at Kerby's is always open. The butterflies were slow to start, but at last count there were at least 20 chrysalis in the butterfly house and too many caterpillars to count. So come on out and enjoy one of the best reasons there is to garden.

Happy Gardening,
The Kerby's Nursery Family

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In This Issue

Featured Plant


Bring on the Butterflies

Upcoming Events
Butterfly Gardening Workshop
This Saturday
Apr 1st at 10am

Butterfly Attractor

6" Pot

6" Pot
Don't let your caterpillars go hungry!

Feeling Artistic?
Enter the UF/IFAS Extension Service's
Arbor Day Mail Art or
Written Word contest and win a prize pack from Kerby's.

Mystic Spires
6" Pot - $5.99
Featured Plant
Mystic Spires

Anything in the salvia family is great for attracting butterflies (and other pollinators too). Mystic Spires is one of our favorites. It is hardy to heat as well as our minor winter freezes. It loves the sun, and grows to a nice height, usually 3 to 4 feet tall. It blooms as soon as it warms up and keeps on going through spring, summer and fall. It is definitely one of our go-to butterfly plants.

Bring on the Butterflies

It's easy to attract butterflies to your garden. For the basics, check out our butterfly handout and learn about some of the best plants for butterflies, and see below for some of the cool butterflies that you might see fluttering about in your garden.


Monarch - The monarch butterfly is one of the most common butterflies in our area. The host plant for the monarch is milkweed, so make sure that you include it in your butterfly garden. Did you know that monarch butterflies migrate all the way to Mexico in the winter?

Swallowtail - There are lots of different swallowtail butterflies, including the black swallowtail which lays its eggs on the herbs dill, fennel, rue and parsley, the pipevine and polydamus swallowtails which use dutchman's pipevine to lay their eggs and the giant swallowtail which lays its eggs on citrus. These butterflies come in many different mixes of black and yellow and are some of the most beautiful.

Sulphurs - A fast-flying yellow butterfly, there are many different types of sulphurs. Some are pale yellow and some like the orange-barred sulphur have beautiful orange colors in their wings. These butterflies lay their eggs on plants in the senna and cassia family. These large shrubs or small trees can make a great centerpiece in a butterfly garden.

Zebra Longwing - The state butterfly of Florida, this cool butterfly hangs out in shady areas under trees or large shrubs. You won't see it flying out in the hot sun too much. It lays its eggs on passionvine planted in the shade.

Gulf Fritillary - Another speedy little butterfly that is orange with white speckling. This butterfly flutters fast and high in sunny areas and lays its eggs on passion vine planted in the sun.

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Kerby's Nursery

2311 S. Parsons Ave.

Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 685-3265

Store Hours
Open Seven Days a Week
Monday - Saturday,  9:00am - 5:30pm
Sunday,  11:00am - 4:00pm