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Black swallowtail butterfly catepillars are eating my dill!

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Black swallowtail butterfly catepillars are eating my dill! Empty Black swallowtail butterfly catepillars are eating my dill!

Post  itsablondething on 6/11/2011, 11:38 am

And I couldn't be more thrilled! At first I thought they were monarch catepillars, but apparently they only feed on milkweed plants. So, these are definately black swallowtail catepillars. I am going to plant LOTS of dill next year to attract them.

I also wonder, is there any type of ornamental milk weed? I'd grow them for Monarch catepillars in a heartbeat.. or maybe just let some wild grow!

Usually the insect chomping away annoy me... this makes me want to sing with joy!
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Post  bufforpington on 6/11/2011, 11:50 am

That's so cool! I planted a butterfly garden, but it was mainly aimed at attracting Monarchs. Next year I'll have to add some dill. To answer your milkweed question; there are a few different types. I have common and swamp planted right now. Both get flowers but I find the swamp to be a little bit brighter. If you're looking for an ornamental perennial I'd probably choose that. Tropical milkweed can also be quite striking but it's an annual. Didn't do well here last year so I decided not to replant.
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Post  itsablondething on 6/11/2011, 12:02 pm

Awesome... did you find your plants on line or buy locally? I am very excited about the prospect of planting butterfly catepillar food! (rather than just attracting the adults.. they need to get to that stage first!)
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Post  nancy on 6/11/2011, 1:51 pm

Swallotail catterpillars will eat anything from the dill family, which also includes fennel and carrots. They are so much fun!

For monarch caterpillars, in my backyard I have swamp milkweed in white and purple, common milkweed, tropical milkweed, butterfly weed, and joe-pye weed. For the butterflies I also have dahlias, salvia, yellow and purple yarrow, liatris, and purple coneflower. Only the tropical milkweed and dahlias are annuals. This year they seem to prefer the common milkweed the best. Last year it was the tropical. They are funny that way. The common spreads far & wide, but it is easy it pull it up from where you don't want it. And it smells heavenly! I have an abundance of tropical milkweed and white swamp weed seeds if you would like some. Both grow pretty easy from seed. Butterfly weed is hard for me, so I buy it from nurseries. The common milkweed I dug up from a field. I found out this year they will also drink nectar from lillacs, too. PM me your address if you would like some seeds.
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Post  camprn on 6/11/2011, 1:55 pm

Oh, I had the same issue last year; the caterpillars feasted and then stopped eating and my plant grew back! Fabulous!! There was enough for everyone! Very Happy
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Post  kkugler51 on 9/22/2013, 11:36 am

I have 8 lovely caterpillars but they are on the parsley. There is only one on the fennel. They are getting fat and lovely.  They have such intense colors of black yellow and green.
I had many butterflies and am glad they are using my garden.
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Post  sfg4uKim on 9/23/2013, 6:06 pm

They decimated my Italian Parsley last year . . . and like you I was thrilled.

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