Butterfly host plant ?

skatayama(NJ-7)March 9, 2005


This year I'm really trying to get some of the bigger shrubs and small trees that serve as butterfly host plants.

For those with more established gardens, I would like to get your feedback on the list below. Specifically I would like to know if the butterflies are present for the host plants listed or if there are plants that you feel are more essential for a population that is already present.

I have to admit that one or two of the choices were made with a few arbitrary irrational wants in mind.

Lindera benzoin 3 to 4

Magnolia virginiana 1

Magnolia stellata 1

Asimina triloba 3-5 everybody needs a pawpaw patch

Aesculus parviflora 1

Aesculus parva 1

Illicium floridanum 1 or 2

Ptelea trifoliata (this is iffy due to space)1?

What other host plants do you find essential for central Jersey? And how do these rate with you?



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I'm not a butterfly fancier, but I like your choices. Asimina and Illicium do well for me.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 7:17PM
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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

Have you tried Buddlea and the perennial plant Asclepias (I think that's right). Their common names are actually a give-away. I suppose Clethra and Itea would work.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 8:18AM
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Hi and thanks,
Well, I have several attractors like buddleia and Itea. But before I get any more butterfly candy, I want to get the host plants in place. Is clethra a host plant for any NJ butterflies? If so, it goes on the list for sure!
I did go a little crazy ordering different Asclepias seeds (among others) and am trying now to germinate some A. syriaca seeds I got in Shrewsbury.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 8:47AM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

Sheila - are the pawpaws for the giant swallowtails? do you see them down there in z7?

I have a hops vine and have seen more anglewings in my yard since getting it - never seen caterpillars but there are a few holes in it. Sure beats nettles.

I planted the lindera last year, for the spicebush swallowtails. And I have a couple sweetbay magnolias and a aesculus pavia but did not know they were host plants.

Violets? I have a lot of gr. spangled fritillaries and a lawn full of violets. This year I am planting lots of dill and bronze fennel, and asclepias tuberosa (supposedly a heavy soil selection) and a. currasavica.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2005 at 12:11PM
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Agastache (hyssop) is a great attractor, and if you can keep it contained, Urticaria (stinging nettle) is an overwintering plant. Butterflies build their cocoons in the leaves of the nettle. The nettle is also good for eating or for tea, after being subject to boiling water. It's high in calcium and is great for hair and skin.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2005 at 5:44PM
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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

The spicebush in the swamps (Lindera benzoin?) is host to one species worth having around. Can't recall which butterfly. And the plant is worth having in itself.
Bought a Cyrilla, which has a reputation as a magnet for various insects. They add to my garden. I hope it survives.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2005 at 8:28PM
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Swallowtails lay their eggs on Bronze fennel & the caterpillers feed off it~ makes for a terrific ( & very attractive) host plant. It reseeds like mad so you have to contain it a bit, but that's ok, since I prefer an attactive but relaxed natural yard, not a perfectly manicured landcape.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 6:01PM
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YES! I just got seeds for dill and fennel in a trade. And you're right, it makes a wonderful foliage plant.


Now I have to look up Cyrilla...I was this close to ordering seeds for the nettle but have a little boy who helps me garden.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2005 at 8:40PM
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carlanne(7 NJ coastal)

A row of ordinary parsley is good too.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 6:59PM
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