West Austin Neighborhood Group

Preserving and Protecting West Austin


    Butterfly Gardening

    March 7th, 2012
    by admin

    Butterfly Gardening

    By: Wizzie Brown

    Butterfly gardening can be a wonderful way to invite nature into your backyard.  With a little knowledge on local butterflies and the correct plants, you can create a garden that allows you to watch butterflies in various life stages.  Adult butterflies feed on nectar, gathering it from flowers.  Larvae, or caterpillars, feed on plant foliage, so if you do not like to have your plants eaten by insects, butterfly gardening may not be for you.

    Some larvae feed only on particular plants.  The following is a list to help you with your plant selection:

    Butterfly                                                          Plant

    Monarch butterfly                                           milkweed, butterfly weed

    Queen butterfly                                               milkweed

    Viceroy                                                            cottonwood, poplar, willow

    Black swallowtail                                             parsley, dill, fennel

    Spicebush swallowtail                                     spicebush, sweet bay, sassafras

    Pipevine swallowtail                                        Dutchman’s pipevine

    Giant swallowtail                                             citrus, Hercules club

    Brazilian skipper                                              canna

    Brush-footed butterflies                                  nettles, thistles

    Hairstreak butterflies                                       pecans, walnuts

    Gulf fritillary                                                    passionflower vines

    Giant purple hairstreak                                   mistletoe

    Gray hairstreak                                               legumes

    Question mark                                                            hackberry, elm

    Texas crescent                                               shrimp plant, dicliptera, ruellia

    Painted lady                                                    hollyhock, thistles

    Buckeye                                                          plantain, snapdragon

    Adult butterflies need a source of nectar in the garden.  The following is a list of plants they might like:

    Plant name                                                      Flower color

    Asters                                                              lavender, pink, purple, white

    Blazing star                                                     lavender

    Butterfly bush                                                  lavender, purple, white

    Butterfly weed                                                 orange, yellow

    Cone flower                                                    fuchsia

    Flame bush                                                     red-orange

    Goldenrod                                                       yellow

    Ironweed                                                         pink, purple

    Lantana                                                           combinations, lavender, orange, pink, white, yellow

    Loosestrife                                                      lavender

    Mexican heather                                             lavender

    Mexican milkweed                                          red-orange, yellow

    Mexican mint marigold                                   yellow-orange

    Mist flower                                                      blue, white

    Phlox                                                               pink, purple, red, white

    Salvia                                                              blue, lavender, pink, red

    Verbena                                                          blue, lavender, pink, purple, red, white

    Zinnia                                                              orange, pink, red, white, yellow

    For more information or help with identification, contact Wizzie Brown, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Program Specialist at 512.854.9600.  Check out my blog at www.urban-ipm.blogspot.com

    The information given herein is for educational purposes only.  Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding

    that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Texas AgriLife Extension Service or the Texas AgriLife Research is implied.

    Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

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