Hummingbird or hawk moth on Pansies and Petunias

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)November 27, 2012

Stopped by WM to look at their plants yesterday and ended up having a close encounter with a hummingbird/hawk moth. Wishing I'd had a real camera with me, my phone doesn't take great pics. The guy working there said they start coming in the late afternoon and he's seen as many as 8 out there at the same time. Needless to say, I'm planting more Pansies! (Petunias die too quickly in this yard.)

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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Just don't kill the hornworms when you see them. ;-)
Try to relocate them to a larger plant like viburnums.

tj

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 10:27PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Oh, and BTW, it looks like (from what I can see) to be one of the clearwings.

tj

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 10:30PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Purple, see if you can find some white alyssum. They are a great cool season plant in your climate and should be available in the garden centers along with the pansies. Boy, do they ever attract the pollinators!

Your moth is one of the many hawk moth species...they are all so interesting! I wish that I could see it better in order to help ID it for you. Each species of moth uses its own favorite host plant upon which to use as a nursery for its own caterpillars. That's why hornworms can't be moved from one plant to another until you know which kind they are...if you want them to survive, that is.

Look up 'clearwing moths ' to see if one seems to match what you saw. If not, google 'sphinx moths' or 'hawk moths' for a much larger selection.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 1:29PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Purple, see if you can find some white alyssum. They are a great cool season plant in your climate and should be available in the garden centers along with the pansies. Boy, do they ever attract the pollinators!

Your moth is one of the many hawk moth species...they are all so interesting! I wish that I could see it better in order to help ID it for you. Each species of moth uses its own favorite host plant upon which to use as a nursery for its own caterpillars. That's why hornworms can't be moved from one plant to another until you know which kind they are...if you want them to survive, that is.

Look up 'clearwing moths ' to see if one seems to match what you saw. If not, google 'sphinx moths' or 'hawk moths' for a much larger selection.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 1:30PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I spent about an hour looking at pics with all of those terms, but am not sure what kind this was. I didn't get a much better look than what my phone/camera did. This little guy or gal was zipping around extremely fast! I do know it's not the same one I used to see in OH which was more hairy, and kind of green and brown.

This WM is about 50 miles from my house, hopefully I'll see some in my yard sometime. Sounds like some Alyssum would be a worthwhile addition. Do you mean the little grassy plants with tiny white flowers commonly sold in seed packs? Those never sprout for me, but this makes me want to try again. Maybe they need light (not buried?)

..and I never kill a caterpillar without knowing what is first.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 7:51AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Yes, that's the plant. It is often sold in cell packs along with the rest of the cool season bedding plants. They come in pink and deeper purple, too, but I think that the white is much more attractive to the pollinators.

Come spring, you might want to get one 4 inch lantana to transplant into a 6 or 8 inch pot....where it will exlode in growth. We always put one on the table on our patio and in the late afternoon/early evening those sphinx moth swarm the flowers. Even when we're sitting within a few inches of them! We had three different species last year.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:10PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks for the tips! I'll try some Alyssum in porch pots next year. There's Lantana shrubs in the back that eat the fence, about 6 ft. tall. I can see tons of butterflies on them but rarely walk back there 'cuz I get eaten up so bad. Two of the cuttings I didn't give away are still green and growing in the front where I hope they also get to be larger shrubs. If these moths are in the area, they may have been visiting the back yard Lantana and I wouldn't know.

The pics were at a WM about 50 miles away.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 9:24AM
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