En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Why is butterfly weeds blooming in October?

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 - November 07, 2013

From: Horseshoe Bay, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Butterfly Gardens
Title: Why is butterfly weeds blooming in October?
Answered by: Nan Hampton & Valerie Bugh

QUESTION:

I live in Horseshoe Bay Texas and have native landscape environment. Last year, in early September, I had a plethora of butterfly weed in bloom and a large variety and quantity of butterflies. This year, (Oct 28, 2013) my butterfly weeds are just beginning to bloom and very few butterflies. Is this a normal variation in the bloom cycle and have the butterflies found other areas to feed on the migration? Just curious. As always, with thanks.

ANSWER:

The reason the butterly weeds are blooming now is that it finally rained enough and remained warm long enough to trigger their blooming.  Their are many plants blooming out of their usual time slot (e.g., I saw a Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow) in full bloom in late October—usually they bloom in late spring and early summer).  The adult butterflies that are moving through the area to warmer climates for the winter will feed on nectar on many different plants. It doesn't need to be the plant that they lay their eggs on that is specific for the larvae's feeding needs.  The female butterflies are not laying eggs at this time of year—the adults just need fuel (nectar) to make it to their overwintering sites.

 

More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Propagating milkweeds for a monarch butterfly habitat
November 02, 2009 - I am planting a monarch habitat in Burnet, Tx with Antelope horns, Green milkweed, and butterfly weed. Should I plant in fall or spring??? Should I use cold moist stratification for 3 months at 40...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly and medicinal plants for New Braunfels
July 10, 2009 - I am in zip code 78132 and we just put in a garden at our front steps- so my choices for plants need to fill a need for beauty and function. I want to include plants that will host and feed butterfli...
view the full question and answer

Orange eggs on milkweed plants
October 18, 2012 - Hello I have milk weed in my flower garden. Every year I find small orange 'eggs' on the leaves and stems of the plant. I don't think these are the monarch eggs, but not sure if they are other...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly garden for TN
May 09, 2012 - Hello! I recently moved into a new house near Mosheim, Tennessee (37818) and I am wanting to start a butterfly garden. I am requesting information how to get this started. What soil, plants, and flowe...
view the full question and answer

Optimum pruning time for butterfly garden
April 18, 2005 - I am planting a butterfly garden that I would like to be pretty as well as beneficial for butterflies. If I am going to have both host plants and nectar plants in the garden and the butterflies will b...
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