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 Butterfly Gardens Questions

Butterfly/hummingbird garden in Texas
September 09, 2005 - I am coordinating a butterfly/hummingbird garden on 100 acres that our religious organization has. We want to use native Texas plants as much as possible. Are these two types of gardens compatible an...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting butterfly weed in Hamden OH
July 10, 2009 - I have tried transplanting butterfly weed from it's native location to my yard and each time the plant wilts and dies. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Amending soil for butterfly garden in Houston
April 01, 2013 - My girl scout troop will be planting a butterfly garden at a middle school in Houston. In researching plants to use, we have come across some such as echinacea, rose vervain, galliarda and Texas gay...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly and Pollinator Plants for Indianapolis Garden
June 23, 2015 - I live in Indianapolis, IN and would like to have a native garden. I'd be especially interested in plants that help butterflies and bumble bees. There's a fairly dry area on the west side of the hou...
view the full question and answer

Want to Amend Soil Without Harming Earthworms in Dallas Area
March 16, 2011 - I have a totally odd question. I live in the Dallas area in the blackland soil. I am removing sod from part of my back yard and will replant with nectar and host plants for butterflies. The soil is...
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