Recipes

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Nothing says July like homemade ice cream. We use this method in our FAVORITE ice cream maker, the Cuisinart from our post: Kitchen Gadgets Worth Owning!

Make the base a day before so it can chill for a good length of time. Using a cold ice cream base will form your ice cream quicker and with a nicer texture too.

Supplies

  • Small CLEAN Dish Towel
  • Ice Cream Maker
  • Mixing Bowls, Wooden Spoon, Wire Whisk, Silicone spatula…
  • Freezer-Proof Storage Container with Lid.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup 2% Milk
  • 2 cups Half and Half
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons Hershey’s Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1 large Hershey bar, snapped into pieces.

Directions

PREP WORK

8 to 24 hours before using the ice cream machine:

Get stuff cold. Place ice cream maker reservoir in freezer overnight or for a few days.

Prepare the base 8 to 24 hours before you intend to turn it into ice cream in the machine. This will give it enough time to get thoroughly cold, which will create better ice cream.

    1. In a cold medium sized sauce pan; add half and half, sugar, and pieces of chocolate. Place pan over medium-low heat, slowly heating and stirring the mixture with a whisk until the chocolate is melted and you can no longer feel any sugar grain textures as you stir the bottom of the pan. (Use a silicone spatula to make sure you get any hidden lumps along the walls and corners of the pan.) Turn off stove and remove from heat.
    2. Place milk in a large mixing bowl, and set it aside to adjust to the room temperature while you finish the base.
    3. Use a silicone spatula to stir vanilla and cocoa powder into the warm base. Allow mixture to cool for two minutes.
    4. By a large spoonful at a time, slowly incorporate the chocolate base into the mixing bowl and whisk with the milk until it is all combined.
    5. Place base mixture back in refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours to chill.

Pro Tip: We think of this recipe as a basic ice cream base. Experiment swapping out the chocolate for other flavors. We’ve used this cooked base method to make fruit flavored ice cream too.

  • Strawberry Ice Cream: Slice strawberries (or other fruit) and place in a bowl with a bit of sugar sprinkled over them and let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and cook strawberries (reserving juices) over medium heat until softened.
  • Use a silicone spatula to add the contents of the frying pan, and the reserved juices, to Step 1, where you would normally add pieces of chocolate.

Now freeze the chocolate mixture in the machine. Follow your machine’s instructions. Our method is:

  1. Put the ice cream tools like the mixers, containers, bowls, and spatulas in the refrigerator (NOT the freezer) about an hour before you start making ice cream to get them nice and cold.
  2. Set up your work space. Plug in your machine and gather your tools. You will want to move fast so have everything you will need at the ready. Retrieve the frozen reservoir and mixing paddles last to ensure they are as cold as possible when you start churning. Assemble the machine, and move very quickly to start making.
  3. Turn on your machine. Slowly pour the chocolate base mixture into the churning reservoir. Watch the liquid levels, as the mixture expands as it freezes and could overflow if too full.
  4. Place the clean folded dish towel over the hole to keep the cold air in. Return any unused portion of the base mixture to fridge. You can make more later!
  5. Set timer for 20 minutes before peeking at the progress under the dish towel. Inspect quickly to keep as much cold air in as possible. Check again in 10 minutes. Note: the machine noises start to change slightly as the mixture freezes and gets harder to turn.
  6. When your ice cream is set, turn off the machine. Remove the paddle. Quickly stir in any mix-ins with a silicone spatula, and transfer mixture to a freezer safe storage container.

Ice Cream can get a little melty in the process of mix-ins and transferring. Freeze for 10 minutes before dishing it out.

Pro Tip: When it comes to mix-ins, we found most chocolate chips and various candies got way too hard when they froze in the ice cream. Magic Shell type chocolate worked great for making our own chocolate bits or using as a topping. Snacks we could turn into crumbs, like Butterfingers and Oreos worked well too.

Cooked fruit that is then chilled (strawberries, bananas, peaches, cherries, etc.) makes better taste and texture than just mixing in fresh slices at the end.

Let us know what homemade ice cream flavor combinations you come up with in the comments of our social media; @DeAnnaAndCompany. Enjoy!

Home Hack

Meal Subscription Review: Hello Fresh

There are so many meal services to choose from, but none of their websites make it very clear what to expect. In fact, most sites felt like there was no information at all besides “Here is food – sign up now!” We hope to make things a little clearer for anyone out there trying to explore and compare different meal service subscriptions.

Today, we’re reviewing DeAnna’s favorite meal service: HELLO FRESH! (And sharing the recipe for the HF meal she made last night too.)

We first reviewed EveryPlate, which we found to be one of the most affordable services. You can read our review on that here: EveryPlate.

We learned that EveryPlate is a sister company to Hello Fresh, so it is no wonder we like them both. In comparing the two, we like to think of Hello Fresh as the older, fancier, often more sophisticated sister with her home completely organized and her life together. 😂 While both services are wonderful and produce delicious meals, there’s more attention to the details in Hello Fresh meal choices and the delivery method that makes it our number one choice, despite the small difference in price.

What to Expect

Your chosen meals will arrive like clockwork in a big Hello Fresh box full of fresh goodness. If you forget to choose your meals for the week, the algorithm will choose for you. Be sure to learn your “choose-by-day” deadline so that you can avoid any unwanted meals, or if you like to be surprised, let it roll the dice! From the HF website: “Choose from 50 weekly menu + market items including vegetarian, kid-approved and low calorie meals, crafted and curated by our chefs. Add ready to eat salads, sandwiches, soups and many more options.”

We were nervous about the “serving size” before we started Hello Fresh, but trust that these are real-life servings. The portions are generous enough that we finish it all and never find ourselves hungry after a HF meal. Your delivery options are available with as few as 2 servings (for 2 people), which make it ideal for a couple or a single who likes to have leftovers. If you have a family or roommates, the meals can be ordered in as many as 4 servings (for 4 people) too.

Ingredients Arrive Pre-Sorted and Measured

The sorted packaging is THE BEST. Instead of each ingredient being dumped into the box all jumbled together, Hello Fresh pre-measures and separates each meal’s ingredients into separate bags. The bags store well in the fridge and make it so easy to grab and go. You’d think things being separated out wouldn’t matter much, but it saves a lot of time in the prep-work stage. We also love that spices are included in the exact amount needed for the recipe.

Directions Are Easy

Directions are on a large card that is easy to read and understand. Ingredients and a meal photo are shown on the front of the card with directions on the back. The directions are separated out into bite-sized steps (see what we did there? 😁) which keep us from getting overwhelmed. The meal cards make it possible to re-create any meal on your own with store-bought ingredients.

PRO TIP: Hole punch and store your favorite meal cards in a 3-ring binder to make on your own in the future.

Our Favorite Feature

One of our favorite things Hello Fresh offers are the fancier add-on meal options. You can add meals to your plan at any point. Sometimes they are themed and offered around celebrations like Super Bowl, or they might just be something fancy like wood-plank salmon. We also love the variety of different bowl-type meals they offer regularly too!

Pause or Cancel

When you have a busy week or holiday plans Hello Fresh allows you to change the delivery day, or even skip a week. HF also allows us to cancel at any time and pick up again in a few weeks or months. We’ve typically skipped weeks when we are super busy, but have even cancelled when we will be on vacation, when family is visiting for an extended period, or even just to change things up for a bit. It’s never been a problem to stop and start the service again. In fact, it’s super quick to pick right back up because all of your preferences remain in your account.

Customer Service

Hello Fresh customer service is great too – they are very quick to correct and compensate for any issues.

Now, the potential cons of this meal service.

  • Many meals require a bit of chopping and prepping. Often the prep-work takes us longer than the cooking part. We don’t mind this feature, but can see how some might not enjoy that.
  • These are not pre-prepared meals you just pop in the oven. These meals are made – by you – from scratch. Meaning, from chopping the measured-out fresh ingredients, mincing, zesting, adding, stirring, sautéing, boiling… to the finished meal, you make it. Again, we like this feature because we love to cook, but can see where it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
  • Hello Fresh is not the cheapest meal service option, but we find the attention to details to be well worth the price. HF is cheaper and healthier than dining out, so again, we don’t find this to be a con but can see where people might. If more affordable is a must, see our review of EveryPlate meal subscription service. It’s like a lite version of the Hello Fresh experience.

Do you have a different meal service? Share your pros/cons/experience with us in the comments of our social media for this article. We’d love to hear about it!

Instagram and Facebook:

@DeAnnaAndCompany

*Note: This article is not a paid advertisement or endorsement. We really have a subscription and have enjoyed the meals and service!*

Curb Appeal

Summer Loving Butterfly Bushes!

Butterfly Bushes are a fountain of beautiful tiny flowers that butterflies cannot resist… and neither can we!

We picked up one of these plants at a local garden show, and they have been a visual delight. There are always multiple butterflies enthusiastically fluttering around the vibrant micro flowers.

It’s not just butterflies we’ve seen, but bumble bees, honey bees, and humming birds too.

The bush grows kind of like a fountain grass, leggy with the flowers growing in cone masses on the ends.

These bushes like the sun. They also must be tended to regularly by “deadheading” (cutting off) the flower cones as soon as they are spent, so that new flowers will grow.

Other Butterfly Attractors

There are many plants that make for a beautiful garden AND attract butterflies and other pollinators. Here are a few popular choices we see often at the nursery and our local garden centers.

LANTANA

 

PENTAS

 

BLACK-EYED SUSANS

 

SUN FLOWERS

 

CONE FLOWERS 

Our Current Favorite Places for Plants

  • Apopka Art and Foliage Festival: Brought to us by the City of Apopka and the Apopka Women’s Club.
  • Propagate Social House, Apopka: It’s like a coffee house, café, and plant place all-in-one! A very low key, quaint and relaxing atmosphere.
  • Kim’s Cabbage Patch, Clermont: Not just plants, but fruits, vegetables and other stuff too!
  • Lucas’ Nursery, Oviedo: A massive nursery with beautiful grounds, unique planters and lawn art, a butterfly encounter, a dedicated butterfly plant area, and just about every other plant, bush, and tree you could ever imagine.

Always Plant With Care

As with all plants, purchase locally at a nursery or approved vendor to ensure you are buying Central Florida safe plants. Inquire with an on-site plant specialist for care instructions, tips, and to know potential hazards if planting in high traffic areas, or in areas pets use.

If you need some quick tips for transplanting your plant purchases to the garden, check out our article, Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere.

How are you planting your summer gardens? Any favorite finds? Favorite plant spots? Share with us via email or by commenting on our social media posts:

@DeAnnaAndCompany

Instagram and Facebook

Home Hack

Kitchen Gadgets Worth Owning

OUR BEST KITCHEN FINDS!

Over the years we have bought or have been gifted our fair share of kitchen gadgets. In truth, 80% of them are nonsense space hogs. You know the ones, they either didn’t work as advertised, or sit on the counter or in a cabinet taking up space for YEARS with no use. However, today we are sharing our absolute FAVORITE kitchen gadgets that were well worth the money for how often we use them and how great of quality they are! The best part: we found all of them are available on Amazon! Three cheers for one-stop shopping!

The Prepdeck

prepdeck meal prep

This is a life saver if you cook a lot, and especially handy if you have a meal service or follow written recipes. This self-storing stylish cubby is a cutting board, ingredient sorter, tool hub, and even holds the the stems and ends you cut off from your produce, so you’re not combating the trash while you cook. You can even add on an attachment to hold an ipad for your recipes if that’s how you roll. It’s pricey but comes with a bunch of tools, bins, and a magnetic removable cutting board. The whole thing stores away in a sleek and minimalist manner, so it will look cute on the counter too!

Cuisinart “ICE” line of ice cream makers

CuisinArt ice cream and frozen yogurt maker

This is THE BEST ice cream maker we have ever used. If you are venturing into home made ice cream, this one is a must! Don’t get fancy or be fooled by bells and whistles, the “ICE” line is a simple machine and is the absolute best at churning out delicious ice cream /frozen yogurt/ sorbet. (Ours is a Cuisinart ICE-20.) It’s worth noting: This machine even won in a crowd and chef-based test among several competitor brands and more expensive models on The American Test Kitchen!

pizza peelAluminum Pizza Peels

If you make pizza often, frozen, fresh, or from scratch – a pizza peel is a must! A thin (but sturdy) metal peel transfers items to and from the oven with ease. We use it for pizza, calzones, breads, and anything else that bakes straight on the rack. We even use a peel to retrieve cooked pies.

PRO TIP: Make sure you pick one with a solid handle, none of those collapsing, folding, and/or bolting handles – pizzas can get heavy so you want one solid wood piece for the handle.

Pizza Stones

pizza stone

Do you make your own pizza? A REAL (thick) pizza stone will make it bake evenly every time. No more mystery moistness in the under crust. It will be crisp and perfect.

Teak and Wooden Spoons

wooden kitchen utensils

We are firm believers in the power of baking and cooking with wooden utensils. It magically makes things feel more special and they look great arranged in a vase on the counter.

make veggie noodlesZucchini Spiralizer

If you have ever thought of cutting back on your traditional pasta intake, or wanted to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, a vegetable spiralizer is the way to go! They make fancy expensive ones, attachments for Kitchenaid mixers, but my go-to is the “as seen on tv” “Veggetti” version. It takes up hardly any space, is inexpensive, and allows me to make “zoodles” at a moment’s notice, with no prep at all. One end makes thin noodles and the other makes thicker. You just stick the vegetable in one side and turn it like you’re sharpening a pencil.

Pyrex Bakeware and Storage Sets

pyrex

It can be pricey for a good set, but you will buy it once and use it for YEARS! Our Pyrex is 20 years old and still going strong! These glass dishes are great for storing left overs, cooking in, and serving too. It’s also an environmentally friendly storage option because it’s reusable and made from glass. NOTE: If you ever happen upon the vented lid versions – those lids have all lasted the 20 years and are still going strong. The plain lids bit the dust after 10 years or so – but that’s still a good run for the money!

PRO TIP: Tomato sauces and plastic lids (or bowls) are not friends. Keep lids stain-free by simply spraying the lids with cooking spray before you cover any tomato-based dishes and it will resist staining.

And now for a whole section of KitchenAid. My motto is when in doubt, choose the KitchenAid! It’s never let me down.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

kitchenaid mixer

There’s a reason you see these everywhere. They really work, and work well. They look cute on the counter too!

KitchenAid Blender

kitchenaid blender

I was torn between this and another top brand, and I am SO glad I chose this one. It blends consistently, is reliable, and doesn’t have a million blades to clean.

KitchenAid Mini Food Processor

kitchenaid mini

This thing is great for making small-batch dressings, dips, or mincing vegetables, I’ve even used it for chopping nuts!

What are your favorite kitchen gadgets? Let us know your kitchen and cooking related must-haves in the comments on our social media:

@DeAnnaAndCompany on Instagram and Facebook

Curb Appeal

Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere!

If you’ve ever bought flowers and never gotten around to actually planting them, we have a feeling it’s because planting can be intimidating. We’re here to share our best tips for a successful transplant.

flowers

STEP-BY-STEP

  1. Use the plants in their containers to arrange and plan your garden.

  2. Plan for how big the plant will be, not how big it is when you buy it.

  3. Dig holes twice as big as the container they come in.

  4. Plant with a gentle hand.

  5. Use good soil and good plant food.

  6. WATER, WATER, WATER!

Step 1: Place your store-bought plant containers, where you plan to plant them. This can help you map out your ideas and measure. It’s also a good time to double check the labels for light needs. Shift shade loving plants from bright areas, and sun-loving plants from shade areas.

Step 2: Ask a store associate or check the label for what size the plant will be when it is full grown. For example, if a plant will measure 3 feet wide when full grown, you want to plant them at LEAST 4 feet apart – or further if you want space in between. Just because the plants you buy are small at first doesn’t mean you should plant them close together. They are going to be BIG in no time at all!

gardening

Step 3: Make sure the holes you dig are deep enough for the plant. You can look up specifics of individual plants online, or ask a specialist at the nursery. We find a good rule of thumb is to dig a hole that is about twice the size of the container you purchase them in. Too shallow of a hole will make the plant struggle in the heat and cold because the roots will be more exposed to the elements. Too deep of a hole will make it harder for the roots to get water and nutrients. It’s the happy median you’re looking for.

Step 4: Plants are delicate and the transplanting process can be hard on them, so handle your new plants with a gentle hand to minimize the shock of the transplanting process. To transfer plants from container to the ground – gently grasp the plant around the base, turn the container to the side, and squeeze the container to help loosen it while you shimmy the plant free from the container. Be sure to gently separate the roots by using your fingers to loosen the roots underneath from the middle out. This encourages the roots to spread out which should help get it established quicker. Place the plant in the middle of the hole and cover with good soil.

plants

Step 5: Most nurseries have their own potting mix, and the ones with cedar in the mix have worked well for us here in Central Florida. We typically put the “good soil” on the top so that when we water the plants the nutrients trickle down into the roots. Pack down the dirt around the plant so that the plant is supported and the roots are protected. Finally, sprinkle a slow release food, like Osmocote, around the base of the plant.

Step 6: WATER is so important for establishing your new plants. After you have planted and sprinkled with food, immediately water generously at the base of the plant. (Ideally, using a garden hose with “shower” setting.) Be sure to water new plants every day for at least the first week. Here in Central Florida, SUN and HEAT are a factor – so only water in the early morning before the sun OR after the heat and sun of the day (dusk) as to not burn your plant/leaves. PRO TIP: Water new and established plants at the base. The roots are what distributes the water and nutrients. The leaves and stems do not. Wet leaves in the sun and heat can burn/kill your plants.

garden hose

Click here to read our previous article for ground care tips, including the easiest way to keep weeds out of your beautiful new flower bed!

Do you have other garden tips? Have a favorite place to buy flowers and plants in Central Florida? We want to hear! Let us know in the comment section of our social media. @DeAnnaAndCompany on Instagram and Facebook.

Curb Appeal

Hedge Trimmers and Edgers: Which is Best?

Electric vs Gas vs Battery Hedgers/Edgers/Trimmers – Which is Best? 

When it comes to buying new landscaping and lawn equipment, we always find ourselves at a crossroads. From plug-in electric, to rechargeable batteries, to gas powered – so many options make it nearly impossible to choose which is best with any certainty. Fear not! We recently upgraded our tools and are here to share our experience.

After owning the plug-in corded and manual landscaping tools over the years, using gas-powered ones, and then recently purchasing the electric rechargeable battery kinds, we feel confident in recommending this particular brand.

E-GO, purchased at Lowes Home Improvement.

lawn equipment

We choose this brand and could not be happier with our purchase. Our lawn (edging) is small, but we have a lot of bushes and plants and find these rechargeable electric (battery/cordless) products perfect for our needs.

The Pros:

  • We can trim without re-charging the battery at least 2 to 3 times.
  • The batteries are compatible with multiple E-GO tools, so you can swap them between tools with ease.
  • More powerful and reliable than our plug-in corded models.
  • Performed just as well as the gas powered options we’ve tried.

The Cons:

  • If the battery dies during use, you have to wait while the batteries charge.
  • The battery charging fan has a funny smell when charging, so we don’t feel comfortable charging them inside the house.

electric landscaping tools

These are literally the only cons we can come up with. We think our E-GO is awesome! The performance is honestly better than all of our previous plug-in electric models. The cuts are clean and it’s rare (if ever?) that this E-GO hedger/trimmer has gotten stuck in the branches of hedges while trimming.

rechargeable battery for lawn equipment

The battery system is pretty straight forward. Slide it on the charger to charge it, it has a light indicator to show when it’s fully charged. Then you slide it on to whatever E-GO tool you want to use and go! I usually find myself needing to charge it after every third use.

Most of the tools have an option to buy with the battery at a BIG savings versus buying the battery and charger alone. We have one battery for two E-GO tools. I swap the battery between the hedger and the edger with no problems. If you have more than one person working on tool – related yard tasks you may want to opt for more batteries.

Do you have any landscaping tools that make your life easier? We want to hear about it! Share your finds with us in the comments of our social media posts about this article. @DeAnnaAndCompany on Instagram and Facebook.

Note: This is not a paid endorsement or ad. We actually researched and purchased these items all on our own.

Curb Appeal

Front Door Face Lift

Painting the front door can refresh the look of your home in just an afternoon. Learn how-to’s, the products we used, and get some color inspiration below!

Q: Do I need special paint?

“Front Door Paint” as seen on Amazon

A: We recommend a paint that is formulated for use on doors. We choose Modern Masters “Front Door Paint.” It had almost five stars on Amazon, so we felt pretty confident it would work well for our door. The paint is made by Rustoleum, and was available in a lot of fun colors. The “Calm” color performed perfectly and covered everything on a previously burgundy colored door exactly as anticipated without a primer. After painting a standard sized door with two coats plus detailing, there was more than 3/4 of the jar left over.

Q: What color should I choose?

A: Coordinate the front door color with the home’s exterior color.

Choosing colors can be tricky. Ideally, you should choose a door color that coordinates with your home’s exterior color. Visiting paint brands online, like Sherwin-Williams or Behr, is helpful for choosing colors and visualizing. Find the color of your home (or one that is similar from their paint options), and see what “coordinating color” suggestions pop up for accents. Those coordinating colors should give you a simple way to explore color options for your front door. Many paint brands’ websites allow you to upload your own photo for testing colors to make visualizing even easier.

OKAY, LET’S PAINT!

Q: What materials will I need?

For Prepping the Door:

  • Sandpaper
  • Multisurface Cleaner
  • Paper Towels
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Primer as needed (depends on your current door color)
  • Newspapers to protect floor from paint drips

For Painting:

  • Paint formulated for doors
  • Art brushes for details
  • Small roller brush
  • Paint tray
  • Paper towels/damp rag for drips and mistakes

Turn That Drab Door Fab!

  • Clean the door and frame thoroughly, ideally the day before you intend to paint – so that the area has time to dry completely before you begin. Pay special attention to cleaning and detailing the hardware like the handle and the key insert. Get them looking shiny and new so your door looks tip top when it’s finished.
  • Lightly sand any rough spots as needed for a smoother application
  • Keep in mind: If you are choosing a new door color that is lighter than your current color, (example a black door that you want to make light pink) you may need to use a door primer paint first. Primer and let dry before using the door paint.
  • Use painter’s tape to mask off any areas where the paint could bleed over: glass panes, edges, hardware, moulding, house trim, etc.
  • Use a small roller to paint the majority of the door.
  • Use art brushes to hand-paint the details/places the roller cannot get to; around handles, windows, edges, corners, etc.
  • Roller the door with a second coat after you have completed hand-painting the details. This will help to blend any brush marks.
  • Leave the door slightly open to dry* so your wet door doesn’t become painted shut or ruined where the door frame meets the door front.

PRO TIP: Paint the door in thinner even layers. Too much paint on the brush or roller leads to thick drippy layers that run before they get to dry, leaving visible streaks and drips on the door.

  • Even if you roller and paint perfectly, sometimes paint just drips. If you notice drips, use a brush fix them (scoop them up) while they are wet.
  • If the roller is slipping or paint is running, you’re probably using too much paint. Try working it into the brush or roller using the ridges of the paint pan before you paint on the door.
  • Once the door has dried, you may notice some see-through spots. Use a roller or hand brush to evenly cover those areas.

We can’t wait to see your door updates! Share your photos with us via email, and we may feature your door on our social media! @DeAnnaAndCompany

Curb Appeal

Create an Instant Butterfly Garden

Grab the garden gloves! Today, we’re creating a not-so-secret garden that continuously attracts beautiful butterflies and their whimsical friends. The best news is, you can create a butterfly garden on a small budget with just a few good plants – which means you can have fun growing your garden by collecting plants little by little if the need be.

D&CO. PRO TIP: Buy in threes. Three always seems to be the magic number for how many plants to buy, especially when starting out. Grouping three of the same plants together (planting a few feet apart for growth) usually makes the best visual, and also makes it easy for butterflies to find.

Most of the plants that attract butterflies love the Florida sunshine, therefore a great area for a butterfly garden is one that has at least part sun – check plant labels or with an associate for specific plant care and warnings*. Butterfly plants are usually simple looking, with lots of green leaves and small flower accents. A butterfly garden should grow a little more wild than be perfectly trimmed and shaped all the time, if you want the plants to attract the most winged visitors. (Too frequent trimming gets rid of flowers and buds, which are what attracts the butterflies.) Approach your butterfly garden design more like you are building a theme park for butterflies, than creating a traditional tightly manicured garden.

Common Butterfly Attractors:


Monarch Caterpillar eating Milkweed leaves

Milkweed
The easiest way to get butterflies to show up in your yard is to plant some Milkweed. Milkweed is a host plant for Monarch butterflies and comes in a few varieties. We like the type pictured here best. It’s labeled a “host plant” because Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on the plant so caterpillars have something to eat when they hatch. The caterpillars will eat this plant down to a nub. Don’t worry, the plant continuously leafs out and grows back again. We suggest planting it behind or among other plants so that you don’t notice as much when the caterpillars eat it all – and they will absolutely eat it ALL! Note: Milkweed is toxic to nearly everything but the Monarch caterpillar, so keep it away from curious children and animals. 


Penta flowers with butterfly

Pentas
These tiny star flowers come in a variety of colors and attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, honey bees, bumble bees… all of the little creatures that make a garden magical. Note: Some varieties are long and leggy, some are neat and shrub-like. Be sure to check labels or ask an associate about the type of penta you are purchasing, so that you know what space is best for planting it.


Yellow Shrimp Plant

Shrimp Plants
Shrimp plants have flowers that kind of look like little shrimps from a distance. It’s a butterfly favorite in any color. Note: Hummingbirds LOVE this plant too. In our yard, they seem to gravitate to the red variety. 

 

 


Plumbago with lots of flowers!

Plumbago
This one is a large loose bush that butterflies and hummingbirds love. You want to keep it a little wild so that the flowers are always plentiful and present – it’s what the butterflies are attracted to and feeding on. 

 

Plumbago

By adding all or any of these four simple butterfly attractors, your garden is sure to be a hit with all kinds of butterflies.  

Share your butterfly gardens with @DeAnnaAndCompany by using the hashtag #GrowWithDandCO

* Keep in mind: some plants can be toxic to animals and humans. Be sure to check labels and with a knowledgable plant associate for information. Additionally, it’s a good rule of thumb to always wear gloves and eye protection while gardening, and to thoroughly wash hands/shower after.