Got Butterflies?

Got Butterflies?

Finally, an article that should have meaning to almost every reader. Everyone I know loves butterflies. Their flash of color and erratic flight cannot help but put a smile on your face and improve your spirits. Now, if you wish this to happen to your face and demeanor, I have the solution: buy one of the many passion vines that LaVille is propagating for the April Plant Sale.

If you buy one at a nursery, you will probably be disappointed. LaVille has found that the Fritillary butterfly is very selective about the kind of passion vine upon which they wish to lay their eggs. They do not like the red or pink bloom varieties. They really love Passiflora edulis and P. caerulea. LaVille is growing both.  So, get one or two vines from her.

You are going to plant them now where they will get good sun exposure. Winter will stunt their growth and you will cut them back to two feet or less. Spring will produce lush growth and Fritillary butterflies will find them and lay their eggs. Then the eggs will hatch, and you will find caterpillars munching away on the leaves. I have to caution you that the butterflies really prefer the delicate leaves of the caerulea. We have to constantly transfer caterpillars from the caerulea to the edulis, otherwise all that will remain is bare stems.

Next, to keep things rolling, you need to provide food for the butterflies. You probably have your favorite butterfly attracting plants. LaVille prefers zinnias as you can see in photo. Plant zinnia seeds in April to greet the butterflies as they emerge from their cocoons.

There you have it—a simple way to make your garden a source of wonderment and joy.

Stan, The Butterfly Man

My Wife Is Thrilled

My Wife Is Thrilled

Today (June 16) my wife is thrilled.  Caterpillars are eating her passion vines.  Not only that—the adults are doing a little dance to spread their pheromones.  Soon there will be Gulf Fritillaries all over the back yard.  If you are interested in attracting butterflies to your yard, your best chance is to grow either Passiflora caerulea or Passiflora edulis in your garden.  Many other passion vines are not attractive to this butterfly, especially those with red flowers.

LaVille will not have vines available at the upcoming Fall sale, but if you are eager, you can come over to the house and she can give you cuttings to give you a head start on next Spring’s growth.  I suggest you come early while there is still plant material left over from voracious larval munching (just kidding).

Stan, The Happy Husband

Catepillar on Passion Vine

Caterpillar on Passion Vine

Gulf Fritillaries orange butterfly

Gulf Fritillaries