Should I try to maintain organization, or let the garden go?

docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)July 12, 2011

I have a very well established butterfly garden with many mature perennials and a great variety of host and nectar plants. Due to the moist spring, I now have literally hundreds of volunteer seedlings of many of my most valuable plants. The problem, if it is even a problem, is that the volunteers did not stay in the previously semi-neat groupings or beds that I had originally created. My question is, should I try to transplant things in the fall into more controlled groupings? Should I pot up some of the seedlings and give/sell them to interested people? Or should I let it continue to be a very natural-appearing and carefree mish mash? In some cases, the plants really are going to get too crowded. So I'll certainly move/remove some plants. It's also getting hard to move around through the garden, so I will re-create some access paths.

If I decide to pot up plants, should I shake the soil from the roots and put them in commercial potting soil? Or should I fill in the holes with commercial soil and keep the original soil around the roots? I suppose that depends on whether I'm more concerned about the health of the transplants or the quality of the soil left in the garden. What have others done in their gardens?

Plants that I have off the top of my head:

Asclepias tuberosa (hundreds)

A. incarnata (thousands)

A. "Red"

Joe Pye Weed

Woodland Sunflower

Downy Sunflower

Wild Blue Lupne


Black-Eyed Susan

Obedient Plant


Coreopsis (annual)



Monarda (several types)

Virginia Creeper

Anise Hyssop



Golden Alexander

New England Aster




Who wants some? I look forward to any thoughts.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

My garden has turned into a "free for all" because of all the seedlings that have taken over. I'd probably try to control it, if I had it to do over. Health issues got in the way, and now I spend a lot of time removing unwanted plants each year.

When you dig up the seedlings, leave the dirt on the roots and just add potting soil to the pots to fill them. I've found the less I mess with the little plants, the better they do when transplanted or potted. Your friends will love you for sharing your babies.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 10:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Be sure to share with all of your neighbors. The more people in the neighborhood you can get to grow plants for the butterflies, the more butterflies you will bring to the 'hood' for your enjoyment!

It's a Win-Win situation!


    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 5:59AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Forum changes due to Houzz
I'm never happy when somebody buys up a website I use...
KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH
Disney's "Wings of Life"
If you want to be truly astonished by the beauty and...
This stuff is hard
I have a ten acre prairie restoration that I have made...
Journey of the Butterly
PBS stations are repeating The Incredible Jouney of...
Help for monarchs?
US Fish and Wildlife is spending some money to save...
socalgal_gw Zone USDA 10b Sunset 24
Sponsored Products
Pure Rugs | Solid Black Kahn Cowhide Rug
5' Red Cedar American Sweetheart Garden Bench
American Drew Tribecca Dresser w/ Landscape Mirror in Root Beer Color
Beyond Stores
Race Car Pendant Chandelier
Lamps Plus
Dyson Dyzolv Spot Rug Cleaner
$12.50 | FRONTGATE
Milwaukee Brewers Stack-Its Box
$16.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™