Sunday, May 25, 2014

Will Butterflies Find a Welcome Feast?

They're back! Pipevine and Spicebush Swallowtails in pairs have shown up. Yesterday I saw a Gulf Fritillary and today a Tiger Swallowtail. Some Swallowtails were here in April for the Azalea Feast, disappearing when the blooms faded.

A tattered Pipevine Swallowtail nectars on Silene armeria.

I used to worry about what Butterflies would find when they returned in May before there were plenty of Pentas and other tropicals that start blooming in June.

Among the dependable May blooming plants that attract butterflies are Dianthus, especially Sweet William -- Bath's Pinks have finished blooming; Petunias and Daylilies. I love to watch a butterfly dive headfirst into a Daylily.

Spicebush Swallowtails seek out Petunias.

Catchfly, Silene armeria is one of those reseeders whose seeds need scatterering in fall. It blooms with Larkspur, usually follows Poppies. This bed has Porterweed seedlings coming on and Pride of Barbados second year seedlings coming back from the roots. Meanwhile, butterflies feast on Silene.

Verbena bonairensis which I call Verbena on a stick because of the height attracts many beneficials and butterflies. I saw two kinds of Skippers yesterday.

Lantana seemed kind of slow this Spring but is catching up. Almost every house from here to town has this, a plus for Butterfly gardening.


Nearby in the Upper Garden, butterflies and beneficials find a feast on Echinacea. There are Echinacea seedlings everywhere, including where I threw seeds along the field road.

Wild Pipevine is plentiful, as is Sassafras (Spicebush) and Wild Cherries (Tiger) for the various Swallowtails' larvae. Gulf Frits depend on plentiful wild Passionflowers. There is Parsley for Black Swallowtails and Paw Paw for Zebra Swallowtails. Yes, we have 5 kinds of Swallowtails. I saw a Zebra today but he eluded the camera.

Are you ready for Butterflies?


  1. I have seen more and more butterflies too. We have flowers for them and I always have dill for the swallowtail caterpillars. My milk weed is coming up good this year. Maybe it will finally bloom. That's for the monarchs. Enjoyed your flying flower food offerings.

  2. Not many up here yet, but the flowers await with the bees a buzz. I have to get Lantana this year. I find the butterflies like the annuals (in our area). You really get the butterflies in your area. I wish we got the pretty varieties, but who knows the way the weather has been happening each year.

  3. I've seen a few butterflies here already, too. :o) I also have verbena b. but mine are still small and my coneflowers haven't bloomed yet. I used to live in SC and have memories of being stabbed by pine needles when trying to lay mulch! Have a great week. :o)

  4. I like verbena on a stick! I am definitely ready for butterflies and have seen some already. I have planted some flowers just for them; I hope they come to the party!

  5. More butterflies down here too. I always love seeing what plants draw butterflies to your gardens.

    I like the verbena on a stick.

    I tried to find and email addy for you and can't seem to find it in my list of contacts either. I wanted to tell you thank you for your kind comments on my latest blog post.

    Have a great week dear Jean ~ FlowerLady

  6. I am ready if they will just come!

    I have seen a few tattered ones.

  7. No, I am not ready for butterflies. Almost nothing is blooming in my Virginia yard, but the snap peas began this weekend. Echinacea looks about ready though.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

Google+ Followers