Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - April 19, 2009

From: Berrien Springs, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Plants for Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies in Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am wanting to raise Painted Lady butterflies and release them into my garden. I know that they like to eat Mallow plants, but I was wondering what kind of Mallow plant would be best for my garden?

ANSWER:

Vanessa cardui (Painted Lady) butterflies have certainly been recorded in Berrien County, Michigan and it sounds like a fun thing to do to raise and release them in your garden.  You have lots of choices, including mallows, for both larval and adult Painted Ladies. The Painted Lady is also known as the Thistle Butterfly because of its preferences for those plants.

LARVAE

Any of the thistles native to Michigan, including:

Cirsium discolor (field thistle), Cirsium muticum (swamp thistle) and Cirsium undulatum (wavyleaf thistle).

Here are some attractive mallows native to Michigan for your garden:

Hibiscus laevis (halberdleaf rosemallow)

Hibiscus moscheutos (crimsoneyed rosemallow)

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow)

Other plants for larvae:

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine)

Helianthus annuus (common sunflower)

Vernonia gigantea (giant ironweed)

ADULTS

Liatris aspera (tall blazing star)

Vernonia gigantea (giant ironweed) 

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus (trumpetweed)

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus (spotted trumpetweed)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

You should realize that the plants listed above also attract other butterflies so you should have a garden filled with beauty.


Cirsium discolor

Cirsium muticum

Cirsium undulatum

Hibiscus laevis

Hibiscus moscheutos

Callirhoe involucrata

Achillea millefolium

Lupinus perennis

Helianthus annuus

Vernonia gigantea

Liatris aspera

Asclepias incarnata

Asclepias tuberosa

Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus

Cephalanthus occidentalis

 

 

 

 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Listing of plants matched to specific pollinators
July 01, 2014 - Could you refer me to a listing of plants matched to specific pollinators? I have completed the conversion of a local nature center garden to a pollinator garden with all natives. We hope to place ed...
view the full question and answer

Little birds for Little Rock
March 21, 2005 - I would like to plant flowers that hummingbirds and butterflies like. I live in Little Rock, Arkansas. What do you suggest?
view the full question and answer

Luring wildlife in Longview
March 27, 2005 - I live in Longview, Texas and am in the process of trying to restore a natural habitat for wildlife in my area. Could you give me a list of plants that are native specific so that I can lure local bi...
view the full question and answer

Larval host plants for Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies
October 31, 2009 - I am looking for a list of larval host plants for Painted Lady butterflies. Could you provide such a list?
view the full question and answer

Want to create a native wildlife habitat for our home in Wasau, WI.
August 18, 2010 - I am trying to create a native wildlife habitat for our home. We live in Marathon County, Wisconsin (north central Wisconsin). We live near woods, meadow, wetlands. Could you send me a list of nativ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.