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 - 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

Dieback of Indigo Spires and whirling butterfly
June 02, 2008 - I have an Indigo Spires plant that is turning yellow and dying back. I have fed it but nothing seems to perk it up. I also have whirling butterfly plants that are losing leaves and dying back. What...
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

Purple Passionflower as a native in Charlottesville VA
September 18, 2013 - Is it possible to grow purple passion flower as a perennial in zone 7? I am looking for hummers and butterflies to be attracted by the plant. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Is Passiflora 'Purple Haze' a host to Gulf Frittilary butterflies?
September 14, 2011 - Is the passion flower purple haze (pasionaria purple haze) a host plant to gulf frittilary butterflies as is the passiflora incarnata passion flower?
view the full question and answer

Fall seeding of Butterfly Weed in Virginia
July 20, 2007 - Just ordered seeds from you - Butterfly Weed - and I plan to hopefully scatter the seeds early Oct. in an area along a tree line here in No. VA where the sun bakes the soil as it is exposed to hot wes...
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