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What are the best plants for butterflies?

I want some ideas for my butterfly garden.

I already have roses, parsley, milkweed, cow peas, and dill.

What else do y'all think I should plant next?

And how do I deal with deer, rabbits, slugs and snails?

I tried growing some ornamental sage but got to much water and died.


Of Roses:

I have some african roses which give yellow flowers. And some roses that give red flowers.

Which sometimes host mysterious caterpillars and cutworms.


Of Trees:

Of trees that host butterfly species I have a blood orange tree and a lemon tree.

I would like to plant some persimmon for luna moths, and hickory horned devils. And for the fruit.


Comments (67)

  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    Wow! Beautiful!

  • sharon2079
    10 days ago

    If you have skippers, you can add cannas that is a host plan for them.... they will shred the leaves. I have lots of canna, It spreads by rhizomes.... but I give it to friends. Also, I grew up in the midwest and my parents a mock orange bush. It was not a host plant, but a nectar plant. It would attract all kids of butterflies... I use to say they were having butterfly wars... I guess they were territorial.... but we had red admirals growing up.... There host is the mulberry tree. Every once in a great blue moon I see one here in Florida. I have nothing for them to eat. Growing up we had Tiger and Zebra swallowtails and monarch. We did not have a butterfly garden. But we must have had host plants around somewhere... never noticed any caterpillars, but that mock orange must have called out to every butterfly in the county...

    I am heading to Butterfly World tomorrow to get a wild lime to be a host plant for my Giant Swallowtails..... I have to spray my lemon tree to keep chili thrips away..... grrr. they totally defoliate the plant so I am getting the butterflies something they can lay eggs on that doesn't mind the CTs.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked sharon2079
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    Canna? I've never heard of that plant. Can you post a pic?

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    10 days ago

    I didn't know that Canna was a butterfly host plant. Of course I don't live in Southern Florida and Texas where this Brazilian Canna Skipper occurs.

    Canna

    Brazilian Canna Skipper caterpillar
    Brazilian Canna Skipper

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    10 days ago

    Jay, I have the canna leafrollers in my yard, so Mars probably has them around. My mother in law loves cannas, so I got them as a gift from her 20+ years ago. I was never a big fan, they are just a Japanese beetle magnet, so I wanted to rip them out a few years ago. Found some big leaf pockets. Usually see the cats only at night or on rainy days.

    Mars, you can also plant some Rue for the Giant Swallowtails. What do you have against hornworms on your tomatoes? They make a beautiful moth that’s a lot of fun to watch.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
  • sharon2079
    10 days ago

    HMMM.... I haven't had any Japanese Beetles on mine.... probably because they are too busy destroying my hollyhocks..... but as I said the hollyhocks don't do to well here...

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked sharon2079
  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    10 days ago

    Sharon, I have given up on hollyhocks. They didn’t have a chance against the deer. So the Japanese beetles are at the canna, followed by hibiscus and evening primrose.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
  • Jay 6a Chicago
    9 days ago

    I grew cannas years ago. The Brazilian Skippers aren't up here and no bugs up here would eat them.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    Jay, I like how the caterpillar looks like. Its very unique. Its transparent.

    The adult form of it resembles a long-tailed-skipper.

    Iris, I didn't know Rue was also a host for the Black Swallowtails.

    What i have against the hornworms is that they eat the tomatoes to fast. They are eating machines.

    If the tomato plant is young and not to tall and leafy, the hornworms would destroy it.

    This year i'm planning to plant a lot of squash, zucchini, and maybe pumpkin. If the squash borers come, how do i deal with them? I want to deal with them organically so that i'll have some organic fruit. I also ordered the fennel.

  • librarian_gardner_8b_pnw
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    @Mars SC Zone 8b Mars I agree with you on hornworms. They're brutal. In a day they could destroy any nightshade. When I lived in Arizona they'd chow down on tomato, eggplant and pepper plants with vigor. During "horn worm season" it was necessary to inspect all nightshades every morning and evening and with scissors in hand. I would cut each worm in half because it was impossible to pull them off the plants (and they would try to bite my fingers! ). If I didn't kill them all, my plants would be destroyed beyond recovery. 😔

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked librarian_gardner_8b_pnw
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    9 days ago

    @librarian_gardner_8b_pnw The hornworms didn't attack my pepper plants though. I raise caterpillars as a hobby and i would never want to raise those monsters. If my tomato plants aren't big, they would be dead...

    The adult is pretty though. What type of hornworm ate your eggplant? I'm planted some eggplant seedlings.


  • Mischievous Magpie
    9 days ago

    @Mars SC Zone 8b Mars some varieties of squash have solid stems and so they do not have issues with borders. You could look into that maybe.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked Mischievous Magpie
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    9 days ago

    There is a italian zucchini that the squash borer doesn't attack.

  • JoJo (Nevada 9A)
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    A while back, after losing many zucs to the borer, I started growing the tromboncino variety and that solved the issue. And keeping the vines off the ground helps with diseases in general. But one needs to invest in a serious trellis -- it's a huge, vigorous plant.

    It makes a great ornamental plant around patios, on pergolas, etc. instead of the usual annual vines.

    (not my pic)



    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked JoJo (Nevada 9A)
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    9 days ago

    I think that's the one i'm planting.

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    9 days ago

    Green Stripped Cushaw and Butternut squash have solid vine borer proof stems.

    Steve

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked poncirusguy6b452xx
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    9 days ago

    Yeah, my butternut squash plants have only gotten attacked by a squash borer once.

  • librarian_gardner_8b_pnw
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    @Mars SC Zone 8b Mars I think it was what everyone calls the tomato horn worm. Eggplants were perennials that were winter deciduous for me in Arizona. So every spring the plants would come back quickly and the plants were beautiful and producing until frost. Without fail, hornworms would attack the tomatoes and eggplants every year. The peppers that got attacked were sweet. May hot chiles are too spicy?

    They are pretty cool looking caterpillars. Just so hungry!

    I've been in the PNW for 9 years so that seems like a distant memory.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked librarian_gardner_8b_pnw
  • chris209 (LI, NY Z7a)
    9 days ago

    The agastache/anise hyssop in my garden are all butterfly and pollinator magnets. Also nepeta/catmint. Both of these have fragrant foliage which may make them deer resistant. Not sure about rabbits. They both like lots of sun, so don't usually have a problem with slugs in the sunnier areas.

    -Chris

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked chris209 (LI, NY Z7a)
  • evdesert 9B Indio, CA
    8 days ago

    Hawk moth on my violet trumpet vine. It’s wingspan was about 3”.

    Friends in the yard · More Info


    Evan

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked evdesert 9B Indio, CA
  • sharon2079
    8 days ago

    I went to Butterfly World in Pompano Florida to get some more host plants. I would have loved to walk through their garden to see the butterflies and plants.... but I AM NOT going to do that until we do not have to wear a mask.... it almost kills me to wear one just to go inside a store for twenty minutes.... oh well.... hopefully it will be soon.


    Anyway I picked up a Wild Lime for the giant swallowtails, a fragrant passifloria 'Inspiration' for Zebra Longwings, and a purple possum passionflower f for the Gulf Fritillary (fruit for me),

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked sharon2079
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    @sharon2079 i totally agree with you. Entering gardening stores and wearing a mask is horrible.


  • arbordave (SE MI)
    8 days ago

    evdesert's hawk moth looks like a white-lined sphinx, a common species that occurs throughout much of the US. The caterpillars are variable in color and eat a wide range plants.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked arbordave (SE MI)
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    @evdesert 9B Indio, CA what a beautiful moth!

  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
    8 days ago

    I have lots of Hummingbird/Hawk Moths here. They eat my brugmansia. I just move them from my good/more rare varieties to the more common ones lol. I love to watch the moths when they show up. They go nuts go nuts for our night blooming jasmine too.


    I was wondering how they got out of these really xtra long trumpet flowers I have that are over a foot deep. So one night, I went out with my camera and flashlight. They would back out with such force they would almost hit the ground and then propel themselves back into another deep blossom..basically bouncing around. It was amazing and quite comical.


    Brugmansia and Hawk moth



    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    Nice @sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)!

    So the hawkmoth eats that flower?

  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    No it sips the nectar and pollinates it.

    The caterpillars eat it. It is in the Solanaceae family along with other nightshade plants sucha as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants etc.

    Brugmansia leaves are poisonous/toxic to humans and some animals.

    Many caterpillars like to eat poisonous or toxic plants to make themselves less appetizing to their predators.


    Some of my Brugmansias











    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
    8 days ago

    Jojo, I bought some Tromboncino seeds this fall. I am planting them now. Do they tast just like zucchini or is there a difference?

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
  • JoJo (Nevada 9A)
    8 days ago

    Tromboncino tastes like zucchini -- mild and sweet. The added bonus is that the seeds are only in the bulbous tip -- the neck is just "meat." But you still have to be vigilant to pick them when they're young because the size can be a bit overwhelming. Better warn your friends and neighbors that they will be getting a lot of zucchini this summer!

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked JoJo (Nevada 9A)
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    I'm planting Tromboncino this year.

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    To me tromboncino is more like Indian edible gourds. I can have zucchini uncooked not tromboncino. Closely related is zucchetta that grow more or less straight and uniform in thickness. When about 12-18 inches they are quite soft like zucchini. But they can grow to well over 3 ft. At that stage it is quite tasty - less sweet and tad bit sour when cooked. My favorite is cooking with seafood. The longest zucchetta I grew was a tad bit shorter than 5ft !! Good thing about these are they are pretty much resistant to a whole bunch of pests and carefree in our area.

    Got tired of growing these giants so gave it a break a few years back. Plus I consistently fail growing anything from regular cucumber family. The pests just decimate them. For the last few years we have been growing Achocha - peruvian cucumber. Tastes like cucumber but small about 2 inches or so. Produces profusely and again extremely resistant to cucurbit pests. Very tasty when young but matures to a seedy vegetable in a matter of days. It is still edible when mature but is better cooked then.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    5ft?! That's big. What are some tasty dishes with tromboncino?

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    8 days ago

    I do not know how italians use it. But being from India (and from a seafood/fish region) we adapted seafood dishes using gourds/squashes. Basically they are all like this: Dice into small pieces (less than an inch) and saute that with spices till they are a bit softer. Grated coconut will add some oomph too. Add sauteed seafood and mix well. Simmer till the vege is all soft. Serve. For variations on this you can experiment with mustard sauce, lime leaves, lime juice, peanuts, cilantro, etc. The tromboncino will absorb all the flavors and be quite yummy. You can do the same with zucchini, butternut squash, and even those overgrown cucumbers. Makes great summer dish.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    8 days ago

    Forgot to mention my other favorite dish. Use a "Vegetti" like device and turn them into noodles and go to town with it. Awesome.

    Here is a pic of zucchetta on our 7 ft long dining table. These are not quite 5ft but you get the idea. These are still soft and young with very immature seeds.



    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    I like zucchini noodles.

  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
    8 days ago

    I love making "noodles" from veggies. If I get too many zucchini I can feed them to the farm animals lol. Our Kunekune literally come back to my veggie garden to beg when I'm in there harvesting lol.



    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    Those pigs are pretty! Definitely not the type I normally see. I wish i saw pigs like that more often.

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    8 days ago

    Lovely pig - never seen such a kind before. It is variegated - lol.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    They are a New Zealand breed that has long fur and wattles. They can be pets but are primarily raised for a superior pork that is as red as beef! They graze grass like a cow and don't challenge our fences. They like you to scratch and pet them. When you scratch their shoulder they tip over so you can scratch their bellies. They do get quite large.

    Best of all, they pick one corner of their pen to go to the bathroom in so its very easy to clean up after them and put it in a compost pile. Their manure is more like cow etc due to they only get grass, alfalfa hay, and veggies and sometimes fruit etc. (No meat products) They do love milk though. They also love banana leaves.

    We got a male & female last spring so we have a breeding pair.

    This was them when we first got them. They are quite a bit bigger now lol!



    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    8 days ago

    These are some adorable pigs!

    The zucchetta are something else. Never seen them before.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
    7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    Thank you :)

    I have lots of different plants for butterflies & bees. Their favorite by far, was totally free..Spanish Needles (Bidens alba)!

    We have these weeds on different parts of the property. Some days I go out there and there will be up to 7 different varieties of butterflies and several kinds of bees working these flowers! They are just ecstatic for it.

    I dont like the spiky seed pods that get everywhere in the fall but since the critters are so crazy about them (especially the honeybees) I have learned to live with them.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
  • perennialfan275
    7 days ago

    If you have Baltimore checkerspot in your area, chelone glabra (turtlehead) is their preferred hostplant (is this one word or two I can't remember...). I think they prefer the white flowering version, but but 100% sure.

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked perennialfan275
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    I planted the Fennel.

    Also i bought some anise hyssops. Do any caterpillars eat it?

  • Tammy (zone 5/6 southern Ontario)
    5 days ago

    My tall garden phlox and zinnias are butterfly magnets. I love watching them flutter from bloom to bloom.







    Hummingbird Moth



    And a poodle....heehee


    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked Tammy (zone 5/6 southern Ontario)
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    Wonderful!

    The first pic is a monarch, right?

  • Tammy (zone 5/6 southern Ontario)
    4 days ago

    Yes, it's a monarch butterfly. Don't you just love those polka dots on her?

    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked Tammy (zone 5/6 southern Ontario)
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    What plant is the monarch on?

  • Tammy (zone 5/6 southern Ontario)
    4 days ago

    The monarch is on a zinnia. They're butterfly magnets.






    Mars SC Zone 8b Mars thanked Tammy (zone 5/6 southern Ontario)
  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    I love zinnias!

    Last year they attracted a few monarchs, a ton a skippers, some random moths, a yellow butterfly, and some gulf frits.

  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    @sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a) have you ever butchered🥩🍗🍖 one of those pigs🐷?

    I'm guessing they taste good😋. They are very cute!