As much time as I spend discussing garden pests and how to get rid of them, I would like to spend a little time discussing the good insects that visit my garden. I’ve posted quite a bit about the Black Swallowtail caterpillars that continually visit my dill and parsley over the course of the summer. Today, I want to share with you another lovely visitor to my garden: the Passion Butterfly or Gulf Fritillary. I’ve seen these beauties in my garden off and on during the summer, but this is the first time one has stood still long enough for me to get pictures. This one visited me this past weekend, and I watched her on the marigolds in one of my raised beds for quite a while. I like these butterflies so much (and they’re a beautiful pollinator), I decided to learn what I could do to draw more of them to my garden next year.
HABITAT OF THE GULF FRITILLARY OR PASSION BUTTERFLY:
The Gulf Fritillary or Agraulis Vanillae are found mainly in the southeastern United States and into Mexico and Central America. When the cooler weather arrives, they will fly further south into southern Florida and the Keys to overwinter. If you live in the southeast, you have probably seen these butterflies in your garden at one time or another.
You can find these butterflies in pastures, open fields, second growth subtropical forests and edges, and city or urban gardens.
HOST PLANT FOR GULF FRITILLARY OR PASSION BUTTERFLY:
These butterflies are also known as Passion Butterflies because they lays their eggs on the passion flower vine. If you would like to host the larvae of these butterflies, plant passion flower vines in your garden. Based on what I’ve read, they like all varieties except the red ones.
NECTAR PLANTS FOR GULF FRITILLARY OR PASSION BUTTERFLY:
Another way to draw these butterflies to your garden is to plant flowers that produce the nectar they feed on. Although this list is not exhaustive, it will give you a good idea of what to plant. (Marigolds weren’t on any lists I found, but this butterly sure liked mine!)
- Spanish needle
- Butterfly bush
- Malay ixora
- Golden dewdrop
- Blue porterweed
- False heather
- Drummond phlox
Next spring, I would like to add more flowers to my garden that will draw the Passion Butterfly, as well as the Black Swallowtail, to my homestead. How can any gardener resist seeing this flying around the garden?
Have you seen these butterflies in your garden? Do you purposely plant flowers to draw butterflies to your homestead? Comment below!