Found this little guy on my dill today

TaraLeighInKV(7a)June 20, 2013

There were actually two of them on the same plant, bouquet dill. I only have the 2 dill plants right now, just started some regular dill so I'll hopefully have some for pickles. The bouquet dill looks so pretty when it blooms, and now my son knows why pickles taste the way they do.


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These are larvae of the Black Swallowtail butterfly! They will also eat Fennel, Parsley, and Rue, in addition to Dill. I move them from the dill to the Fennel. The females have the most blue dots.



Here is a link that might be useful: Black Swallowtail

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 4:18PM
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Those are beautiful! Thanks Susan! All I have of all those plants are the 2 dill. I have about 10 more I just started in the last week for pickles, but I might see if I can't find some plants at the nursery. I'm also going to move him to the other dill, he's on the one right under the bird feeder.

Next year I want to do a lot more flowers for the hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. I've been leaving as much of the wildflowers as I can, there are a bunch of brown eyed susans that I know I didn't plant. I clipped a few posts with lists of flowers from you and Dawn, and I've slowly been looking them all up to see which ones would work best for the space I have.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 5:44PM
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The problem with planting Dill right now is that it really does not like the heat at all. The little plants could either just languish and die, or bolt (flower), which is what annuals do in order to perpetuate the species, and then go immediately into decline. You may be able to get some seeds if it does start to flower quickly, or you might try planting them in partial shade and keep them well watered to extend their life as long as possible. You can also try deadheading the flowers to encourage continued leafy growth. However, it's kinda like fencing, and you're saying "en guard" and thrusting your sword to lop off the flowers, and the Dill parries by shooting out more flowers. You may find it to be a never ending battle.

I've attached an article on battling the bolt. It may work. Keep us posted and good luck.

I have a butterfly garden and have raised many species. I particularly encourage people to plant milkweed, which is the only group of plants their larvae will eat.


Here is a link that might be useful: keeping your herbs from bolting

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 7:44PM
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I had no idea what milkweed looked like, but my husband did, so this spring he's been mowing around each one that came up on the lawn. It looks really funny, but we live out in the country so no one cares. The only ones that have flowered are the ones in the ditch by the road, and I've relocated a few from middle of yard to the edge of the woods so it doesn't look quite so weird. We're trying to leave as much as we can for the wildlife.

I planted the dill where it gets afternoon shade, so hopefully it will hold out for a bit. And it's okay if I don't get it for pickles, need cucumbers for pickles and I don't know if I planted enough of those... I'm constantly learning new stuff, it's great.

I knew about veggies bolting, but didn't know it was an issue with herbs. Does bolting affect the taste of the herbs, or just the amount of leafy growth? We let the 2 dill we have flower, they look so pretty, and it looks like it's getting ready to drop seed. The herbs are still a big experiment to me. All we had last year was basil, and I pinched it off every chance I got, and harvested a lot until we were almost ready to pull it. My husband dried it and got all the seed out, then sprinkled it on the lawn without telling me. Now we have baby basil coming up everywhere. :)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 8:13PM
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I am so psyched and excited! we, also, found 2 teeny tiny guys on the parsley! We do not plant parlsey for us to eat, just those guys.
I haven't seen anyone on the butterfly weed yet, but I have seen little black dots.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 11:20PM
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We have at least one of those same caterpillars too. Initially found it on the triple curled parsley... which is fine, we planted that for the butterflies. But then it found the dill, and ate pretty much all of it before we noticed. So now we have pretty much no dill left at all! Sad, no dill pickles for us (unless I plant more and keep it indoors). I hope the caterpillar at least enjoyed it!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 2:36PM
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I found 5 more on the other dill plant... Hubby isn't exactly thrilled, but I'm gonna leave them all. We'll figure out something else for pickles. And now I know to plant a lot more butterfly flowers next year.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 4:28PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I planted about 40 dill plants, using 4 or 5 varieties, for both us and the butterflies. I planted a handful a week, beginning in March and ending in late May, putting seedlings in various places so that the butterflies would have them, and so that we hopefully still would have dill seed and dill weed at pickle-making time.It is always kind of iffy because often the dill is slowing down and running out of steam about the time the cucumbers take off and start producing enough for pickles. Now, the older dill plants are going to seed, and I've been harvesting the seed and yanking out the older plants as they decline. The younger plants are still in the vegetative stage and I have them in morning sun/afternoon shade, but still expect they won't last real long now that the real heat of summer has arrived.

The swallowtails have been loving the dill, but I also have fennel and three kinds of parsley for them to enjoy after the dill burns up in the heat.

It is pickle-making time here, now, so the dill has managed to hang on long enough to allow the cucumbers to catch up with it.

We have oodles of swallowtails all summer long. They are one of my favorite butterflies so I always plant a lot for them, but we always have had lots of them, even before I started planting extra stuff that is just for them.

Taraleigh, We mow around so many wildflowers that sometimes it is hard to tell we mowed at all. I put a new garden plot in an area this year that always has had lots of milkweed and Indian paintbrush, so after we rototilled and took out all the grasses and wildflowers, every time an Indian paintbrush or milkweed popped up out of the ground, I dug it up and planted it just outside the garden fence, so now we have a no-mow zone there because the wildflowers are so thick that you can't mow around them. I tell my husband I'm doing him a favor by reducing the area he has to mow twice a week.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 4:44PM
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I never got any monarchs this time around, but have two black swallowtail cats in my bronze fennel. I've never had any before, that I know of. Isn't it exciting?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 1:55PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

I had a bunch of swallowtail cats on my fennel this week. I spotted a few eggs too. I haven't seen the butterflies :) but obviously they are around somewhere.

Tara, I don't remember where you are, but you can bring them inside and feed them organic fennel if you can find it or even parsley. But you have to know that it doesn't have any pesticides on it. I raised some on store bought parsley before. Next year put some fennel in the ground for them. I have dill (for the first time ever!), but they are all hanging out on the fennel. I put bronze fennel in the ground every year, but the green fennel is the only one that has hung around long term.

They are a lot of fun to raise!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 11:14PM
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Dawn, I'm slowly condensing them, and sowing more. I want lots of flowers but found out that I have to focus on one area at a time, or I end up losing most of them.

Lisa, I'm in Creek county, southwest of Tulsa. I might try to bring one in, what kind of container should I put it in? I bought 2 parsley plants to supplement the dill, and I can plant it where it gets a bit more shade to help it hold on longer. I just know I need to plant a lot more next year if I want to keep them happy!

My son has always wanted to raise a butterfly, so it's worth a try.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 1:15PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Taraleigh: Any container will do. I've used cottage cheese containers, ziplock containers, tupperware :) anything. They need some room, plenty of food and air holes at the top of the container. Saran wrap works fine, but you might want to use a rubberband or something to keep it in place.

I put paper towels at the bottom and add in a few sticks. The caterpillars will usually choose a stick to attach to when they go into their chrysalis. You will need to change the paper towels every day or two, they are pooping machines :)

Once they are in their chrysalis, I usually take the stick, (or whatever they used and attach that to a stick) and stick it in flower foam to hold it upright. I put it in a mesh laundry bag and stick it on the porch. I leave it outside at that point just in case a caterpillar ended up getting parasitized.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 3:43PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

getting ready to come out!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 3:49PM
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Those are some amazing pictures. We put one in my son's pop up bug collection bag with a stick and some food. How big do they get before the go into their chrysalis? I'm so excited.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 6:52PM
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I caught one of the caterpillars abandoning the dill this morning, I don't blame him, it's basically just a stick now. He was headed toward the freshly planted parsley I bought for them, so I helped him out and put him on the parsley... which he abandoned for the tomatillo. Is it possible he's getting ready to form his chrysalis?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 12:39PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Tara is he pretty big? He could be ready. Just keep some food available and a stick in with him so hopefully he will attach to that!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 2:13PM
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He was just trying to hide from me. He found the parsley again. He's actually the smallest of all of them. He looks like the last stage before the pupa though, from the pictures I've looked at. I'll try putting a few sticks nearby for him to use. I only brought one in the house, I left the other ones outside but keep going to check on them.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 5:31PM
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