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

Friday - January 06, 2012

From: Mansfield, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Butterfly Gardens
Title: Will Butterfly Plant Survive in Mansfield, Texas
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

I have a butterfly plant that was very successful (about 4 feet tall) right up until the cold snap three weeks ago. I've read they have a tap root, so I'm hoping it will come back next spring. Meanwhile, what do I do with the crispy leaves and some of the mushy stems? Thanks!

ANSWER:

I suspect that your plant is not a native, but you do not give enough information for me to determine even that.  To answer your question, I would first check the plant description that came with the plant and see if you can find its scientific name. Then research it by the scientific name since so many plants are called butterfly weed, butterfly bush, etc.

The only plant that had the actual name of butterfly plant, that I could find was a native of Brazil.  Mr. Smarty Plants only answers questions about natives. If you don't have the plant label, check with the nursery from which you bought it.  If you didn't buy it from a nursery, you may be able to find out more about this plant by matching up pictures on line to what you know you had.

If you find you have to replace it, you may want to grow some native shrubs or herbs that attract butterflies with nector or serve as the host to a butterfly.

Under Recommended Species on our webpage you can find a list of natives to your area, North Central Texas. Then you can narrow your search for plants that do well in the growing conditions for light and water that your garden has. Then just look at each plant and see if butterflies use it, or it has the flowers you would like.  You can also narrow that list by GENERAL APPEARANCE (e.g., herbs, shrubs, etc.) to find the kind of plant you want.

For right now, you can cut the plant back to the ground.  Then wait to see if it will come back or research its cold hardiness, and be prepared to replace it, hopefully with a native that will also help your local bugs, butterflies, and birds, late this winter or early next spring.

If you are interested in plants that attract butterflies, you might want to read Butterfly Gardening, in our How To Section under Explore Plants.

Here are a few of my favorite plants for butterflies.

 

From the Image Gallery


Mountain sage
Salvia regla

Indigo bush
Amorpha fruticosa

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Pink-scale blazing star
Liatris elegans

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
July 24, 2010 - Purchased foliage plant - no one knows its name. Leaves (stems) are bright green and 10" tall. Has "babies" like a spider plant but leaves (stems) are wider and thicker. Has a "rib" to them in...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification, Oxalis drummondii
October 07, 2009 - All around Austin in the last couple of weeks I've noticed a beautiful lavender flower blooming in dense clumps. I haven't been able to look at them closely because it seems they prefer to be in th...
view the full question and answer

plant identification, Portulaca pilosa, Kiss-me-quick
October 02, 2007 - There is a small plant with clusters of red-purple flowers and tubular succulent leaves on branching stems I found in the flower boxes at the top of the look-out tower there at the center. I forgot to...
view the full question and answer

New thorn/bush tree in Central Texas
September 23, 2013 - In Central Texas, over the last 5 years we have seen a new variety of thorn bush appear. It has very long thorns much like mesquite tree but thorns are every inch or so along the branches. The tree is...
view the full question and answer

Identification of red lily-like blossom in Austin, TX
September 21, 2012 - Rain at last in Austin! The rain lilies are up, but wait, what on earth is this? Lily like, 6 petals, but a cluster of 6 stalks w/blood red blooms slightly larger than our rain lilies - Off under a ...
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