En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Thursday - October 27, 2011

From: Spring Hill, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pollinators, Butterfly Gardens
Title: Butterfly egg kit from Spring Hill FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Could you please tell me all native plant(s) I can buy for my Sons Painted Lady Butterfly kit (eggs are going to hatch soon)and I don't know what to buy for the baby caterpillars to eat. I contacted the company directly and was told they didn't know and once they hatch to peacefully put them to rest by placing in the refrigerator, :( I live in Spring Hill, Florida. Thank You for all your help.

ANSWER:

Unortunately, we are afraid your son's baby caterpillars never had a chance. Plants you could purchase probably would not be anywhere close to hosting baby caterpillars. On the other hand, every hungry bird in the county would have their eyes (and beaks) on the little critters the minute they were deposited there. It is somewhat heartless that the manufacturer of the kit you purchased did not give you instructions on what to do with the eggs that hatched, and when you inquired, said just to kill them humanely.

From our own Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, here is information from our on-site Insectary. As you will see, we do not begin with butterfly eggs, but with larvae gathered by volunteers and staff in the area. Stalks of the proper feeding plants are also gathered and placed in jars in a protected building with screened windows so that visitors to the Center can watch as the larvae develop and become pupae. At that point, they are removed from the Insectary and placed in a screened box (again, protecting them from predators) until they hatch into butterflies and are set free in our Butterfly Garden, which is planted with butterfly-attracting plants native to Central Texas.

For future reference, we suggest you go to the BAMONA (Butterflies and Moths of North America) website, where you can learn about cultivating butterflies which are not only beautiful but are valuable pollinators. From Insectlorepedia, here is lots of information about the lifecycle of the Painted Butterfly, and its preferred diet. 

 

More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Non-invasive plants for hummingbird and butterfly garden
January 20, 2009 - Hello :) I've been building a huge Hummingbird and Butterfly garden. Up until now I've only had the Milkweeds and Dill for host plants for the Monarch and Black Swallowtail Butterflies. I'd love t...
view the full question and answer

Help finding and growing milkweeds for monarch butterflies
August 01, 2011 - I would like to participate in your "Monarch Waystation" program. Knowing how milkweeds generally don't transplant well, and I have poor luck getting them to propagate from seeds, could you please...
view the full question and answer

A Bounty of Edibles for New Braunfels Texas
October 25, 2013 - I was hoping you could suggest a few plants that would serve several purposes. I live in New Braunfels, TX and would like to incorporate as many drought tolerant plants which would support birds, but...
view the full question and answer

Food for butterflies in Austin
April 21, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, my kids and I are raising Painted Lady butterflies from caterpillars but it's still too cold to release them (oddly cool spring we're having!) If they mate and lay eggs, what loc...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly gardening in Wood County, TX
February 11, 2009 - What food and host plants should be planted for butterflies in Wood County Texas.
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center