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

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Sunday - May 10, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Plants for Painted Lady
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

Where can I buy plants for the painted lady butterfly larvae in Houston?

ANSWER:

According to Butterflies and Moths of North America, more than 100 host plants have been noted for the Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterfly. Caterpillar favorites include thistles (Asteraceae), hollyhock and mallow (Malvaceae), and various legumes (Fabaceae). The adult Painted Lady prefers nectar from composites 3-6 feet high, especially thistles; also aster, cosmos, blazing star, ironweed, and joe-pye weed. Flowers from other families that are visited include red clover, buttonbush, privet, and milkweeds.

Any good native wildflower seed mix such as the Butterfly Retreat Mix available at Native American Seed should do the trick.

 

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