An Observation on Butterflies

Joined
Jan 5, 2017
Messages
1,529
Reaction score
1,351
Location
Atlantic Beach, Fl
Hardiness Zone
9a
Country
United States
I've noticed in my own gardens that if you want to attract both a lot of butterflies and a great variety of them, you can't just have flowers; you MUST have host plants and a lot of them.

Years ago I got milkweed, because of all the news about how monarchs are in trouble, and I noticed that I suddenly had tons of monarchs in my yard, so much more than any other species of butterfly. Then I got a passionflower vine, then I noticed a lot of Gulf Fritillary and then the Zebra longwing butterflies started showing up, both use the passionflower vine as a host plant.

I just recently started growing fennel and I've noticed a lot of Swallowtail butterflies, so I planted some Rue (also their host plant) and now I've got these Swallowtails all over the place and I have so many caterpillars on my dying Fennel that I went out and bought three more Rue plants so I could hopefully save all these caterpillars.

It makes you wonder how they sense these host plants; flowers by themselves attracted a few here and there, but once I planted host plants, It's like they were sent a signal directing a whole flock to my yard.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
6,958
Reaction score
5,101
Location
Birmingham, AL USA
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
I've noticed in my own gardens that if you want to attract both a lot of butterflies and a great variety of them, you can't just have flowers; you MUST have host plants and a lot of them.

Years ago I got milkweed, because of all the news about how monarchs are in trouble, and I noticed that I suddenly had tons of monarchs in my yard, so much more than any other species of butterfly. Then I got a passionflower vine, then I noticed a lot of Gulf Fritillary and then the Zebra longwing butterflies started showing up, both use the passionflower vine as a host plant.

I just recently started growing fennel and I've noticed a lot of Swallowtail butterflies, so I planted some Rue (also their host plant) and now I've got these Swallowtails all over the place and I have so many caterpillars on my dying Fennel that I went out and bought three more Rue plants so I could hopefully save all these caterpillars.

It makes you wonder how they sense these host plants; flowers by themselves attracted a few here and there, but once I planted host plants, It's like they were sent a signal directing a whole flock to my yard.
Smell. Seriously. Its a case of prominent probiscus.
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2020
Messages
58
Reaction score
40
Hardiness Zone
Plant Hardiness Zone 6b - near border 6a, Heat Zone 7
Country
United States
I stick dill, bronze fennel, parsley, and a few more just about everywhere there is a bare spot in a bed and you're right...they will find them. I also don't plant them in clusters but have them spread as singles or small groups all over the yard. I tried passionflower from seeds two years running. Nothing. Next year I'm getting a few plants.

I hope to run pipevine up the sides of my fire escape next year.
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Threads
27,197
Messages
260,513
Members
13,726
Latest member
mogard

Latest Threads

Top