What type of plant would serve best as a hedge (that would attract butterflies and bees (and hide an existing chain link fence)?
-We would like it to be native to Ontario and colourful (oranges and reds?)
-We are in Toronto (Jane and Bloor).
-It is the north end of our backyard. The yard has new-ish cedar fences on both sides but the far end, the north side, is chain link. We like those neighbours and don’t want to block off contact with them or go through the trouble/expense of building a new fence.
-There is a tree shading one end of the fence but the other parts of the fence basically get full sun.
-Both we and our neighbours have vegetables gardens that run quite close to this fence line.
-We have minimal time (and experience) re maintaining plants and gardens.
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
What a lovely problem to have! Choosing pollinator plants to grow along a fence that gets full sun.
Here is an immediate resource that can help you. This gardening guide from the Toronto Master Gardeners includes lists of plants that are sun-loving and are attractive to butterflies and other pollinators:
Since you have the space, how about a fence of Butterfly milkweed which attract both the queen and monarch butterfly and other pollinators? This way you will be part of the David Suzuki campaign #gotmilkweed to help make Toronto a major corridor to attract the monarchs.
Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) seeds should be harvested in the fall. They can be sown directly in the garden (in the fall, as would happen if left to seed naturally). This would be the best way for anyone with limited time. Alternatively the seeds may be started indoors during the winter after a period of cold stratification. Seed will germinate upon being shifted to 21°C after 90 – 140 days of moist, cold stratification at 10°C. Seed requires light to germinate. (Because butterfly milkweed dislikes having its roots disrupted, direct sowing is probably the most reliable method of propagation.)
A few additional culture notes: Keep butterfly milkweed well-watered through its first season; after that, it will be fine pretty much left on its own. Butterfly milkweed doesn’t require fertilization. A topdressing of compost once per year around the plant is sufficient.
For more information on the stratification process, please take a look at this website:
For more information on the butterfly milkweed, check out this website: