En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Plants for Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies in Michigan

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - April 19, 2009

From: Berrien Springs, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Plants for Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies in Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am wanting to raise Painted Lady butterflies and release them into my garden. I know that they like to eat Mallow plants, but I was wondering what kind of Mallow plant would be best for my garden?

ANSWER:

Vanessa cardui (Painted Lady) butterflies have certainly been recorded in Berrien County, Michigan and it sounds like a fun thing to do to raise and release them in your garden.  You have lots of choices, including mallows, for both larval and adult Painted Ladies. The Painted Lady is also known as the Thistle Butterfly because of its preferences for those plants.

LARVAE

Any of the thistles native to Michigan, including:

Cirsium discolor (field thistle), Cirsium muticum (swamp thistle) and Cirsium undulatum (wavyleaf thistle).

Here are some attractive mallows native to Michigan for your garden:

Hibiscus laevis (halberdleaf rosemallow)

Hibiscus moscheutos (crimsoneyed rosemallow)

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow)

Other plants for larvae:

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine)

Helianthus annuus (common sunflower)

Vernonia gigantea (giant ironweed)

ADULTS

Liatris aspera (tall blazing star)

Vernonia gigantea (giant ironweed) 

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus (trumpetweed)

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus (spotted trumpetweed)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

You should realize that the plants listed above also attract other butterflies so you should have a garden filled with beauty.


Cirsium discolor

Cirsium muticum

Cirsium undulatum

Hibiscus laevis

Hibiscus moscheutos

Callirhoe involucrata

Achillea millefolium

Lupinus perennis

Helianthus annuus

Vernonia gigantea

Liatris aspera

Asclepias incarnata

Asclepias tuberosa

Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus

Cephalanthus occidentalis

 

 

 

 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Luring wildlife in Longview
March 27, 2005 - I live in Longview, Texas and am in the process of trying to restore a natural habitat for wildlife in my area. Could you give me a list of plants that are native specific so that I can lure local bi...
view the full question and answer

Mystery tree with yellow fruit in MN
November 12, 2012 - There is a tree at my workplace, about 8' tall, with small, pea-sized yellow berries right now (Oct. 2012). The berries are attractive to Cedar Waxwings, and the tree has small leaves that are simple...
view the full question and answer

Native annuals for pollinators in King County, Washington
February 06, 2014 - I live in King County, Washington State, and I have a plot in a community garden. Rather than plant food, I'd like to attract pollinators. I need to use native annuals rather than perennials as the c...
view the full question and answer

Plants for bird garden in Virginia
May 25, 2010 - I am expanding on a bird attracting garden and would like to know what plants to plant. It is a shade to partial sun area, in an approx. 9' circle, both small shrubs and flowers would be nice.
view the full question and answer

Something eating milkweed leaves in Austin
June 23, 2011 - I have some milk weed plants, and have noticed in the last few weeks that something is eating the leaves on them. The flowers are fine and no other plant appears to be bothered. I thought perhaps it w...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center