Butterfly Gardens in a Pot

I’ve got a school that doesn’t have room for a traditional in the ground garden, so we are going to plant in large pots. The question that comes to mind is, “What kind of soil should we put in the pots?

Here are two solutions from two experts.

  1. One expert, Jesse, suggests this for a mix to fill the pots.
    2/3 – potting mixI like ProMix – BX – it has micorrhizae
    1/3 compost – this provides a lot of the nutrients that the plants need. I like the Black Gold compost that you can buy at http://stlcompost.com/products-compost/
    If you don’t need a large quantity they do sell it for $3.50/bag or 3 for $10.00.
    Jesse does not use Osmocote or any other fertilizer, but every year he might just add extra compost to the pots.
  2. Another expert from a Horticulture program suggests using ProMix BX. Don’t use any other amendments, but after you put in the plant, you sprinkle Osmocote on top. There are two types of Osmocote – I buy the one with the micro-nutrients. Another tip she had was to put in an upside down pot to help take up some of the space if you want to save money on potting mix.

Below are three pots I did for a school. They are fairly large pots and are filled with Miracle
Gro potting soil plus a Miracle Gro Compost. Each pot took about a dozen plants and then some of the kids planted marigold seeds around the outside. One pot with the stake was entirely different types of milkweed.  The other pots were combinations of host and nectar plants. I put in close to a whole tray of plants into each pot.




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Gardening for Monarch Butterflies


Date: Saturday – April 23, 2016
Time 10:00 a.m.
Crestwood Community Center
9245 Whitecliff Park Ln
Crestwood, MO 63126
(Registration is not required for this free event.)

Join Tom Terrific as he shows you what you need to do to not only attract Monarch butterflies, but keep them coming back to your garden.

While the Monarch butterfly population has decreased dramatically, the question that Tom Terrific tries to answer is, “What can I do to help the Monarch butterfly population rebound?”

Tom will discuss the causes of the Monarch decline and what host and nectar plants we can grow to attract and keep Monarchs in our garden. He will also talk about pests, diseases and which varieties of milkweed do best in our urban gardens.

Let’s make St. Louis a Monarch Paradise!

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Plant Sales – 2016

Missouri Wildflowers – Kirkwood Farmer’s Market
April: Saturdays from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Pre-orders can be Picked up Fridays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
150 East Argonne, Kirkwood MO 63122

April 23rd-24th – 9am-5pm—St. Louis Horticulture Society Plant Sale – MoBot.

April 28 – 30, 2016 –  Herb Sale – Location: Orthwein Floral Display Hall

April 28-29 – 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Meramec CC.

April 30 – U City in Bloom 2016 Annual Plant Sale
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Sunday May 1, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Where: Heman Park Community Center, Olive Blvd. west of Midland Blvd. 975 Pennsylvania Ave.

MAY 6, 2016 – Pre-sale for Garden members only FRIDAY,  4 to 7:30 p.m.  Shaw Nature Reserve

MAY 7, 2016 – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Saturday – Shaw Nature Reserve

May 7, – 8 a.m. – Flora Conservancy – Forest Park Greenhouse.


May 7, 9am-3pm. – South Tech High School Greenhouse. Saturday

I you know of any other sales, please let me know and I will add them to the list.



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Pesticide Alert – Home Depot


On a recent trip to Home Depot, I was looking at some of their plants and they all had neonicotinoid pesticides. They are hiding the pesticide label behind the main label so most people won’t even see the notice.

While I complained to Home Depot last year, obviously they are not demanding that their growers stop using these dangerous pesticides.

Don’t buy these plants as they will kill local pollinator insects.

Here’s a 2013 report on the use of Neonicotinoid pesticides.



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Mycorrhizal Fungi

Here’s some good information from Gabe Brown on Mycorrhizal Fungi. One of the reasons I use Pro-Mix BX is because it has this fungi.


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Pro-Mix BX Potting Soil


I noticed that they use Pro-Mix BX at Shaw Nature Reserve so that is the seed starting mix and potting soil I’m going to use for most seeds and plants.

They do make similar products, but what you want in the product is MYCORRHIZAE.

According tho their website, it improves fertilizer uptake; reduces fertilizer costs increases plant’s resistance to stresses; reduces maintenance costs.

Some products which look very similar don’t have the MYCORRHIZAE

I’be been told that the HP variation stands for High Porosity and just has more perlite. It is more expensive.



2016 – I found the BX product at the Bayer Garden Centers. $36.99 for a 3.8 cu. ft compressed bale

Note – this brand does NOT have fertilizer so you will need to add some Osmocote when you transplant.

I also found Pro-Mix at Menards, but it does not have the Mycorrhizae.


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Seeds for 25 Cents


Gateway Greening has seed packets of flowers and vegetables for sale for only 25 cents per package. The main reason they are so cheap is that they are last years seeds. Some may even be older, so they probably won’t germinate as well as fresh seeds.

I’ve been told they are only for sale on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, but since no one is there to take your money, you may be able to get seeds most of the day. You put your money in a box in the seeds area. It’s run on the honor system.

They keep the seeds in the “Carriage House” which is just up the street from the Gardens and they are on the second floor.


As of today, March 5th, they still have a good selection.

Note – this is only a St. Louis thing, you may be able to find another group like this in your city.

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