The Start of my Butterfly Corner Garden

CrosStitching(9b)March 20, 2014

So here's my ugly little corner garden where I'm collecting butterfly plants (and a few misfits).

So far I have:
some sort of vining antique rose that my grandma gave me (it has never flowered)
a porterweed
a simpson stopper (if it comes back, it didn't like being moved)
a volunteer thornless blackberry bush (I previously had two blackberry bushes here)
two lantanas
a devil's backbone
a false roselle hibiscus
a corky stemmed passionflower vine

And soon to be added seedlings:
A pink coral vine
Several Purple Coneflowers- echinacea purpurea

And I'll probably add in a sad looking milkweed plant my dad pulled from his garden. It had two monarch caterpillars on it when I got them, unfortunately, they didn't survive my kids love of them.

I'm looking forward to a couple months once all these scraggly plants fill out and bloom. Should be a very lush looking corner!

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

That's a lot of different plants you've got planted in a small space!
Porterweed is a big favorite with butterflies, and both gulf frits and zebra longwings use the corky passionvine - here's hoping those grow big!

Sherry

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 3:20PM
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coolbutterfly(5A)

Hi, I agree with Miss Sherry...too many plants for that space. Also, If you plant milkweed you should have a patch of at least 6 so your caterpillars don't run out.

The good news is it's super early in the season so you have plenty of time to make changes. Good luck with your new garden, Tony

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 5:19PM
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Leafhead

Are you located in Florida?
As you start to see butterflies use that corner, you're going to want to EXPAND and incorporate your entire back yard :-)
Here's some suggestions to help get'er rockin'
More Passion Vine, preferably Corky Stemmed.
Pipevine (Aristolochia)
Wild Lime.
More Porterweed, all colors.
Pentas
Tropical Milkweed.
Breynia (Snowcap)
Fennel/Dill
Lady in Red Salvia.
Jatropha
Cassia
Coral Bush (Hamelia patens)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:23AM
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CrosStitching(9b)

Thanks for the advice! I will have to wait and see what stuff actually grows well before removing/expanding any plants. I did stick a little horsemint aka spotted beebalm in there today so it didn't get taken out by the mower. I also found a bunch more corky passionvine growing on the side of my house and I plan on moving more of it to the fence and hoping to spot some caterpillars when I do :)
@Leafhead: I would love to expand eventually and actually have several other butterfly type plants incorporated into my regular landscaping along with many veggie plots. I have Jatropha and Coral/Firebush in my front garden with some florida privet and in my veggie plots I have a blue bouquet passionflower, a flat leaf italian parsley, and some salvia seedlings along with marigold, calendula, and sunflowers scattered about as a trap crop for aphids.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:38PM
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Leafhead

Sounds like you've got a good start on things...
here are a couple more suggestions:
Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) Great nectar source.
Day Blooming Jessimine (Cestrum diurnum) This Florida native is gang busters for attracting male butterflies, even ones that don't usually visit flowers.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 3:06AM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

I was visiting my in-laws in Florida and found a GREAT book called Florida's Fabulous Butterflies. It also has a section on some beautiful moths too.

It gives details about the common butterflies (and ones less so) and gives much information about their life cycles and what their caterpillars eat. So many beautiful pictures too. It makes me want to live there. So much land is being lost to development too--it's great that you want to help out the butterflies!

Purple Hairstreak caterpillars eat Mistletoes. (I am now going through the book.) Malachite caterpillars eat blechum, ruellia, and plantago. White Peacocks eat blechum, ruellia, and lippia.

Then you get butterflies familiar to many of us-- Pearl Crescents, Red Admirals, all kinds of swallowtails.

Some pictures showed butterflies nectaring on Ixora flowers, Pentas, Spanish needles,

I would imagine that planting native plants is the best and easiest way to go.

Coontie is a great one to plant since it supports the beautiful Atala butterfly.

I saw Zebra Longwings too--they use Passion-flower Vine--the FAQ has the exact species of Passion flower that you can use. (The book talks about how they do external digestion--they take up pollen and let it soak on their curled up proboscis! Fascinating.)

Julias also use Passion Flower too.

So fun! Keep us posted on what visits your yard.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 1:59PM
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CrosStitching(9b)

Things have filled in a bit more now and I've moved some things around a bit.
The simpson stopper didn't make it :/, so I stuck my potted milkweed containing two parent plants and what looks like 3 seedlings in the general area. Didn't want to transplant until the seedlings were established. I moved my Blue bouquet passionvine into the garden because it was taking over the pot it was in, and put some more corky stemmed passion vine and a native lantana in the garden.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 3:05PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

I have a Central Florida friend and Jatropha (as suggested by leafhead) has always been a huge nectar hit in her yard. Think you can pick some up at Lowes Garden Center. I would focus a lot on host plantings as they always make a huge difference in butterfly numbers. Good luck!!! :)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 6:13PM
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Leafhead

Watch out for plants treated with systemic Neonicotinoid pesticides. These come through the nectar and cause Colony Collapse Disorder in bees and Lord knows what else. They also kill larvae. Lowe's might not be the best place to by Butterfly plants. Try a local nursery or garden center that grows its plants organically.

John

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:53PM
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