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Butterfly Caterpillar Host Plants

Grow your very own butterflies and watch the entire magical process from egg, to caterpillar, through metamorphosis, and finally to adult butterfly all in your own backyard by planting these butterfly host plants like Passionvine, Butterfly Weed, Fennel, Hibiscus, and more!

 

Golden Alexanders ( zizea aurea) produces flat topped clusters of tiny yellow flowers atop tall 2-3' high stems in spring atop the rosette of glossy lobed foliage. This is a member of the carrot family, Apiaceae previously Umbelliferaceae, and is a host of the Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar. A native clump forming perennial, Golden Alexanders, Zizia aurea, is found throughout the central and eastern US. It is commonly found in moist woodlands, roadsides, meadows, and prairies. The flowers attract a variety of smaller pollinators including bees and butterflies. The ripened seed heads are utilized by songbirds. Item# 11774

Grows To: 2-3'H x 1'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Mostly sunny, Part shade
3.5 inch Pot / 16 fl.oz. / 473 ml
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Golden Cassia, Quebracho, Alcaparra

Senna condolleana, S. bicapsularis var. condolleana var. chilensis

Large clusters of deep golden yellow flowers are produced over an extended period in spring and summer on this naturally evergreen shrub to die-back perennial. The flowers of the Golden Cassia attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. In all regards this plant looks very similar to Cassia (or Senna) corymbosa but flowers in summer. The foliage may be used as a caterpillar food source for Yellows and Sulphur butterflies. Item# 11512

Grows To: 6-10'H x 6-8'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Mostly sunny, Part sun, Part shade
3.5 inch Pot / 16 fl.oz. / 473 ml
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This native perennial Hibiscus produces 5-6" wide white, cream, or pink flowers with a deep burgundy eye over a long period in summer. Native to moist acidic soils but will perform nicely in average garden soils in full sun. The perennial native Hibiscus are hosts to a wide variety of butterfly species. Item# 9744.

Grows To: 4-6'H x 4-5'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
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Considered by many to be one of the most fragrant Passionvines with a strong gardenia-like perfume emanating from the 2" white flowers that have a purple stripe centered on the frilly corona. May produce delicious passionfruit under good conditions and with cross-pollination. The beautiful silvery-green delicate trilobed foliage makes it a great contrast for darker colored trellises and backdrops. A vigorous growing vine that is adaptive to containers as well. Can be successfully grown indoors. A host plant for the Gulf Fritillary, Variegated Fritillary, Zebra Longwing, and other Heliconian butterflies. Item # 9229.

Grows To: 20-40'H, Smaller in containers
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun, Part shade
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
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1/2"-3/4" wide, white to greenish white, mimosa-like flowers sit atop short stalks that emerge from the leaf axils. The flowers are often followed by an unusual and decorative curling cluster of brown to black seedpods that are excellent for wildlife. The fine, fern-like foliage and stems may also be browsed by wildlife and also serve as the host plant for the Northern and Southern Cloudywing Skipper butterflies. Attracts pollinators. Item# 10459.

Grows To: 2-4'H x 2-3'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun

Incense Passionflower, Passionvine

Passiflora x 'Incense'

The deep purple 3-4", richly fragrant exotic looking flowers are produced throughout the growing season on this vigorous Passionvine with medium green foliage. Incense is considered to be one of the hardiest passionvines for US gardens along with the native Maypop Passionvine, Passiflora incarnata, one of its parents, and the US native Yellow Passionvine, Passiflora lutea. In our experience Incense rarely produces fruit on its own and some sources suggest that hand pollination is required. Like the native Maypop Passionflower, Incense readily spreads by rhizomes. A caterpillar host for the Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Longwing, and other Heliconian butterflies. Item # 464.

Grows To: 15-20'H
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun, Part shade
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
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The dark coppery to burgundy colored cloak of foliage is topped by a summer long display of large full light pink to near white flowers that are delicately marked with darker pink veining and a burgundy eye. A truly remarkable contrast that is impossible to miss in the landscape! A clump forming moisture loving perennial, Kopper King's compact habit and dark foliage make it a stand out when sited behind Louisiana Irises or next to the chartreuse foliage of Maui Gold Elephant Ears. Image courtesy of North Creek Nurseries. Item# 10925

Grows To: 3-4'H x 4-5'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Mostly sunny
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
Currently In Stock: 0
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The large pink, dark-eyed flowers of Lady Baltimore Hibiscus are sure to make a statement in the late spring and summer garden. This root hardy, die-back perennial has a compact 5' x 5' habit and is tolerant of soil moisture levels ranging from average moist to wet soils. Lord and Lady Baltimore Hibiscus are the earliest flowering cultivars that we grow. Item# 10318.

Grows To: 5'H x 5'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
Currently In Stock: 42
US$12.99

Spring and summer offer up a mound of dark purplish-black foliage that covers up in late summer and fall with contrasting white daisies with a purplish-red eye. The flowers of Lady in Black Calico or Woodland Aster attract a myriad of pollinators like bees, smaller butterflies, and other garden beneficials at a time when many are stock piling for winter. This is an easy and reliable clump forming native perennial selected for its deep dark foliage. Lady in Black Woodland Aster is tolerant of light shade but will have the darkest foliage where it receives the most direct sunlight. May reseed on exposed soils. Caterpillar host plant for the Pearl Crescent butterfly. Images courtesy of North Creek Nurseries, all rights reserved. Item# 12114

Grows To: 24-36"H x 12-18"W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Mostly sunny, Part shade
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
Currently In Stock: 38
US$11.99

Lavender Lady Passionflower, Passion vine

Passiflora x 'Lady Lavender'

An exceptionally free flowering passionvine, Lady Lavender produces 3-4" wide, lightly fragrant flowers with purple sepals and petals that fade to near white near their base. The flowers are topped by a corona of blue filaments that fade to white and then darken to deep burgundy at their base. Lady Lavender Passionflower is a sterile Patrick Worley cultivar considered to be hardy to near 10oF. It is large and vigorous enough to cover a medium to large trellis easily in one season or it can be enjoyed as a container plant where not hardy. Provide a full to mostly sunny location and a moderately fertile soil with average drainage for the best flowering. Item# 11444

Grows To: 8-12'H+
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Mostly sunny, Part shade
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
Currently In Stock: 48
US$14.99
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Considered to be one of the best flavored Passion Fruit varieties that gets four stars for flavor! This is a popular Hawaiian variety and Lilikoi is the Hawaiian name for "purple passionfruit". This tropical climber is a very easy and strong-growing, perennial vine with dark glossy green foliage and dark purplish green stems and petioles and produces exotic white and purple flowers which are followed by purple, rounded fruit, about the size of tangerines. Item # 9168.

Grows To: 12-24'H+
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun, Part shade
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
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Intense pure red, massive, dinner plate sized flowers are produced beginning in early summer and continuing until fall on this vigorous and free flowering perennial Hibiscus. Lord Baltimore is one of the first widely cultivated Hardy Hibiscus developed by Robert Darby in the 1950's and it is still popular to this day! Perennial Hibiscus produce the largest flowers of any perennial in the garden and the rich red of Lord Baltimore may even stop traffic, if accidentally. It is a vigorous upright to spreading perennial that easily fits into the back of the perennial border or as a specimen in moist sites. Item# 11017

Grows To: 5-7'H x 5-7'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun

The Maypop Passionvine or Passion Flower produces a summer long display of 2-3" wide white, lavender, and purple exotic flowers that are held against medium green tropical foliage. Pollinated flowers are followed by round passion fruit that ripen to yellow and contain a tangy tropical tasting clear flesh that surrounds each of the small black inedible seeds. This easy to grow perennial native vine can grow to 15-18' each year if given a suitable support but it is also happy to clamber along a fence, trellis, or any other support that it can grasp with its strong tendrils. Provide a well-drained soil and a full to mostly sunny position for the best results. The Maypop is the caterpillar host for the Gulf Fritillary and other members of the Longwing family as well as the Variegated Fritillary. Item# 500.

Grows To: 15-20'H
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun, Part shade
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
Currently In Stock: 70
US$14.99
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The typical Mexican Butterfly Weed that produces clusters of orange to red-orange flowers with contrasting sunny yellow centers are produced from mid to late spring to frost or nearly year round under warm tropical conditions. An excellent host plant for Monarch, Queen, and Soldier Butterflies. It has a naturally upright to vase shaped habit and the stems are adorned with medium sized deep green narrow foliage. Mexican Butterfly Weed can be grown as a short-lived (2-3 years usually) die-back perennial in zones 8-9, it should remain evergreen in zone 10, and is commonly grown as an annual in colder zones. Makes a wonderful heat and sunloving plant with something of a tropical look. Use Mexican Butterfly Weed at the back of the perennial border or in mixed combination pots. Item# 502

Grows To: 4'H x 2'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun

Midnight Marvel Perennial Hibiscus, Hardy Hibiscus

Hibiscus x 'Midnight Marvel' PP 24079

Large glowing deep red flowers are held against the dark burgundy maple-like foliage of this hardy Hibiscus. Midnight Marvel Perennial Hibiscus is a show stopper that absolutely pops in the summer and early fall landscape! Another excellent Walter's Gardens introduction, this hardy Hibiscus is sure to make a statement whether in the garden and landscape or all on its own. Like some of the other Walter's Gardens Hibiscus introduction, Midnight Marvel flowers all the way from the top to the bottom of these naturally rounded plants. Provide full to mostly sun and a moderately rich moist soil. Item# 11420

Grows To: 3-4'H x 4-5'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
Currently In Stock: 0
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Deep glowing red full Hibiscus flowers are held against the deep burgundy foliage of this exceptionally beautiful hardy and compact Hibiscus and Mimi is sure to be a conversation piece in any garden. Begins flowering early and at a young age. This is a cold hardy perennial Hibiscus that is well suited to container culture or in moist garden settings as well as in the shallow edges of water gardens, ponds, and in bog gardens. Item# 11149

Grows To: 3'H x 3-4'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
Currently In Stock: 46
US$12.99

Producing some of the largest flowers of any Perennial Hibiscus cultivars to date, the deep cherry pink to near red flowers of Moy Grande can measure over 12" across! The gray-green fuzzy foliage is pest resistant and this is a vigorous upright to spreading perennial that will enjoy a spot at the back of the garden where it can wow passersby. Provide a full to mostly sunny position in a moderately moist fertile soil for the most flowers and vigorous growth. Developed by Dr. Moy at the San Antonio Botanic Gardens. Item# 11172

Grows To: 4-6'H x 4-7'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Mostly sunny
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
Currently In Stock: 0
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Dainty greenish yellow passionflowers are produced throughout summer and are followed by small black edible/inedible fruit. The Native Yellow Passionflower is a small to medium sized perennial vine with apple green tri-lobed foliage that is often splashed with light silvery variegation. Considered to be one of the most cold hardy Passionvines it is also fairly well mannered making it suitable for container culture. The Yellow Passionflower is found throughout most of the central and eastern US within its hardiness range. A host plant for the Gulf Fritillary, Variegated Fritillary, Zebra Longwing, Julia, and other Heliconian butterflies and the Passionflower Bee. Item# 11046

Grows To: 4-6'H in zones 5-6, to 15'H in 7-10
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun, AM sun, Part shade, Light shade
2.25 inch Pot / 9.7 fl.oz. / 287 ml
Currently In Stock: 0
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Pawpaw

Asimina triloba

3-5" green-yellow fruit with banana custard-like flavor, some say they are best after being frozen. Produces fragrant purple flowers in spring. A small native, normally understory tree, and is the caterpillar host plant of the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly. Seedling grown. Plant two different varieties or seedlings for pollination. Item# 786.

Grows To: 20'H x 20'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun, AM sun in S regions
Quart Pot / 30 fl.oz. / 887 ml
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The huge white flowers of Peppermint Flare are randomly speckled and lightly striped with purplish pink. This hardy perennial Hibiscus is sure to be a conversation piece! This nearly sterile hybrid produces a continuous display of huge flowers, has excellent vigor, and pest resistant foliage. This root hardy die-back perennial has a compact 4-6' x 4-6' habit and is tolerant of soil moisture levels ranging from average to wet. The Flare Series Hibiscus were developed near San Antonio so in the the words of Heidi Sheesley they are 'Texas tough' as well as big and beautiful! Item# 11171

Grows To: 4'H x 4-5'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
Currently In Stock: 0
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3" wide creamy white flowers with a burgundy eye are produced from summer to fall on an upright growing perennial with small, trilobed, rich green foliage. The Pineland Hibiscus or Comfortroot is an uncommon native perennial Hibiscus found at the edge of pine forests, along rivers, and streams. It is not always long lived (3-6 years typically) but is certainly a worthy component of wildflower gardens, meadows, other natural settings, and near the back of the garden or landscape. Item# 9804

Grows To: 3-6'H x 2-3'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun
3.5 inch Pot / 16 fl.oz. / 473 ml
Currently In Stock: 0
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Huge bright cherry pink, 10" wide, widely flaring flowers are born from summer to fall on this beautiful perennial Hibiscus. Pink Flare is a showstopper with its continuous display of massive flowers, excellent vigor, and and pest resistant foliage. This root hardy die-back perennial has a compact 4-6' x 4-6' habit and is tolerant of soil moisture levels ranging from average to wet. The Flare Series Hibiscus were developed near San Antonio so in the the words of Heidi Sheesley they are 'Texas tough' as well as big and beautiful! Item# 11452

Grows To: 4'H x 4-5'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
Currently In Stock: 0
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Pink Flowered Crimson-Eyed Rosemallow, Swamp Mallow

Hibiscus moscheutos (pink form)

6-8" wide pink to white flowers with a dark burgundy eye are produced throughout much of summer on this vigorous and hardy native perennial. We were kindly supplied with seeds of the pink form of our native Crimson-Eyed Rosemallow and are now finally able to share them with you. Prefers moist to wet soils but established plants can tolerate average moisture conditions fairly well. They can reach 7' by the end of summer but are more commonly seen in the 4-5' range.The foliage may be used as a butterfly larval host by Hairstreaks, Blues, Coppers, and others. Images shown are examples, actual flower color may vary slightly since these are seedlings. Item# 11240

USDA Cold Hardiness Zones: 5,6,7,8,9,10 (mulch in 5,6,7,8)
Grows To: 4-6'H x 4-5'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
Currently In Stock: 0
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With flowers to 10" across that are a brilliant purplish-pink with a magenta eye and dark bronze-green foliage who wouldn't be Plum Crazy about this gorgeous perennial Hibiscus. If you can't tell, this is one of my personal favorites for it's unique color and crape paper-like petals. This root hardy die-back Perennial or Hardy Hibiscus has a relatively compact habit and is tolerant of soil moisture levels ranging from average moist to wet. Provide a full to mostly sunny site and a moderately fertile soil for optimum vigor and flowering. See our Hardy Hibiscus Growing Guide to learn more about how to get the most out this hardy perennial. Item# 10158.

Grows To: 3-4'H x 3-4'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun
4.5 inch Pot / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml
Currently In Stock: 0
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Golden Alexanders ( zizea aurea) produces flat topped clusters of tiny yellow flowers atop tall 2-3' high stems in spring atop the rosette of glossy lobed foliage. This is a member of the carrot family, Apiaceae previously Umbelliferaceae, and is a host of the Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar. A native clump forming perennial, Golden Alexanders, Zizia aurea, is found throughout the central and eastern US. It is commonly found in moist woodlands, roadsides, meadows, and prairies. The flowers attract a variety of smaller pollinators including bees and butterflies. The ripened seed heads are utilized by songbirds. Item# 11774

Grows To: 2-3'H x 1'W
Outdoor Light: Full sun, Mostly sunny, Part shade
3.5 inch Pot / 16 fl.oz. / 473 ml
Currently In Stock: 0
US$8.99
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