Duranta Sky Flower Bush - 19 butterfly photos

texaspuddyprintSeptember 10, 2005

Found a guava skipper nectaring on my duranta purple sky flower bushes (aka duranta erecta, duranta repens, golden dewdrops). I highly recommend this bush - it has an abundance of butterfly traffic.

The majority of these photos were taken this past week.

~ Cat

A variety


Polydamas Swallowtail

Funereal or Mourning Skipper?

Giant Swallowtail


Gulf Fritillary and Queen

Painted Lady

unknown white

Turquoise Long-tailed Skipper

Lots and lots of other kinds of skippers (many too fast and too small for me to focus and photograph)

Sphinx moth - aellopos clavipes?

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WOW!! Fantastic!! Photos and durantas! I found duranta for the first time up here at Lowe's this year. I bought one at $8 in about a 7-8" pot and the butterflies and hummers just devoured it. I went back to Lowe's and found they had marked the plantz down to $3 so another half dozen came home with me. Since I am in zone 6 I am fervently hoping that I can carry some of them through the winter. I love the plant myself and since the critters are so hungry for it, it is definitely a winner! Mine is not setting seedz. Cat, does yours? I would love trying to grow a few from $eed. I did stick a cutting (a piece that broke off on the trip home) and I think it has rooted. As cheap as they are, surely they can't be hard to start. Oh, and I am completely jealous of the variety of bugs you get!!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 12:20PM
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Jillberto(Z9 CA)

Wow, so many butterflies and so many different types! I am going to have to give another look at this plant.

My Mother in law just bought one that has a variegated leaf.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 5:53PM
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Yes, this is truly an excellent nectar source. I was out shopping today and bought six more. I can usually get them for $3 at a wholesale nursery but I was at the other end of town and bought them for $5 there. Figured with the cost of gas...I'd spend the difference driving the other direction :o) I have no idea where I'm going to plant them...but I couldn't resist buying more! Also bought turk's cap malvacea and orange honey suckle. All those plants are blooming in their pots so I have all the pots in my little red wagon and parked that up against the back fence for the butterflies until I find room to plant them.

Spiderwoman, I've seen a local nursery start these off but cuttings. Have never tried seeds myself...mine showing signs of small green 'golden dewdrops' - so seeds should show up in another month or so. Remind me...and I will see if I can harvest some. Will tell you once they change colors the 'golden dewdrops' are a fleshy pulp and you have to squish it to get to the seed.

~ Cat

ps...pity how we must resort to changing the spelling of those intellitxt hot words....I've gotten use to inserting a bogus code like "arf" (with the around it) in the middle of those hot words.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 8:40PM
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Wow Cat, that is a great series of shots. I am so envious of your butterfly and plant collection! Ruth

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 2:34PM
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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

Wow, amazing. I'm jealous, wish it was a cold hardy plant. Gorgeous pictures, thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 2:46PM
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Jillberto(Z9 CA)

Thanks for the explanation of the funny spellings. I know others on other forums are leaving because of the extra ads certian words bring up. Clever trick you have

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 3:28PM
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Also found the weirdest looking caterpillars on my duranta this week. Please check out the link below or the 'discussion' section where I'm looking for a Caterpillar ID.

~ Cat

Here is a link that might be useful: Caterpillar ID link

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 5:27PM
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mechelle_m(z9 TX)

I almost bought a pla nt that looked very much like that last week. Think I will now go back and see if it is indeed a duranta! Especially since the pla nts are all 70% off! Loved the photos!!! (There's more than one way to skin a cat with spaces in the words- pla nt)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 8:50PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Those pictures are fabulous!
The brown long-tailed skipper must be the brown longtail/urbanus procne, since I don't see any spots on the body.
Just beautiful!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 10:25AM
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Magnificent pictures!! Loved the Guava Skipper on the Durantha (all 3 of them) and the 4th picture down with about half a dozen butterflies on the Durantha is terrific. My Durantha doesn't seem to have as many blooms as yours. Is yours in full sun? Are you doing anything special to get all the blooms--special fertilizer or anything like that? I see a few smaller butterflies on mine but nothing like the plethora of various groups that are using yours. Keep them coming.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 11:58AM
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I have two duranta bushes side by side and up against my west side fence. They get full sun throughout the day but are dotted with shade from a nearby grapefruit tree. The west side fence starts to shade them around 6pm. They are both close to 8 feet tall. They froze during that Christmas snow/freeze in December and I cut them back to about 2 feet. They came back nice and bushy too.

As for fertilizer and bloom booster I hadn't used any on them...but now that I found rare rekoa (hairstreak) caterpillars on them (a new US record according to NABA) I have given my durantas a good dose of both.

Gotta keep those blooms going so that when the cats turn into butterflies NABA will release them back into my yard and hopefully they will continue to frequent my durantas and use them once again as larval host plants.

~ Cat

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 5:09PM
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irish_rose_grower(z7 LI NY)

Holy Cow! I've never seen so many butterflys on one bush. Just beautiful. And so many various types of butterflys. I love seeing them in my yard. They love my purple butterfly bush.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 12:26PM
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Holy Cow Cat those are amazing pics!
Thanks for sharing your incredible variety of Texas Butterflys, the Guava Skipper is a real looker, I hope to see one someday along with the Gulf Frit and some of the others you get.
Wonderful ! -stephen

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 7:54PM
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Black swallowtails...

Female Black Swallowtail

Male Black Swallowtail

Two males...

~ Cat

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 3:13AM
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...and White Peacock

~ Cat

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 3:17AM
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...The first caterpillar I found 09/13/05

...one getting ready to pupate 09/14/05

...a female butterfly that emerged and is about to be released back on the duranta bush in my back yard 09/27/05.

...a female laying eggs. This one was seen on my duranta 10/01/05 - not sure if it's the same one we released on 09/27/05...but there it's a possibility.

~ Cat

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 3:39AM
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Thanks-you made my day. It's been in the 50's/60's and rainy for the past 3 days, so your pictures of butterflies provided my butterfly fix . How many butterfly species have you seen in your garden this year?


    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 9:56AM
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I went through all the hoops to join this forum, just to ask a question! I did a search on duranta bush because I bought 2 on sale. The worker knew nothing about the plant, but it was low, purple and had berries. It is gorgeous, and I plant for birds and butterflies! Lucky me. How winter hardy are they?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 11:44AM
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I'm down in the south tip of Texas (zone 9) where we have mild winters...rarely gets below freezing. The durantas are fairly hardy here. We had a freeze/snowfall in December 2004 and I had to prune them back to about 2 feet as all the herbaceous branches froze/turned to mush. They sprouted back again quickly and are already over 8 feet tall :o) Pruning off the spent flowers/end branches does wonders to prolong the bloom season too.

~ Cat

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 8:17PM
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sandwhy(z5, Evanston IL)

WOW Cat - such an amazing variety!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Very jealous. Very, very jealous.

PS.... don't understand the "hot words" comment... please to explain? :)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 12:05AM
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A while back the Village Ijots that bought out the Garden Web website were linking advertisements to 'hot words' via intellitxt. So if you used words like "lawn" or "hummingbird" or "seeds" etc in your post it would show up as underlined and if you hovered over it you could see it was a link to another website trying to sell something related to lawns or hummingbirds or whatever. Lots of folks were quite upset and left the forum...others had to download programs to stop it and others like me quit becoming paid subscribers and started to type in blank html codes so the advertisements wouldn't be linked to what we typed. I guess the powers that be realized they were losing members and stopped inserting intellitxt advertising in our posts.

~ Cat

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 4:08PM
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sandwhy(z5, Evanston IL)

AHA! Thanks for enlightening me. Great photos.

Sandy :)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 12:10AM
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zanthan_gardens(z8 Austin, TX)

Gorgeous photos! I bought three 1 gallon Duranta last year and grew them up in 3 gallon pots. They overwintered successfully outdoors (despite several dips into the 20s last winter) and I've just planted them out this spring.

I hope they attract as many butterflies as yours have.

Here is a link that might be useful: Duranta in Austin

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 10:56PM
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