Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: Host plants for Giant Swallowtails

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Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
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Sheila_FW
Feb 13, 2010 9:13 AM CST
I think the swallowtails are my favorite butterfly....yes, even over our Monarchs.
I have the Rue as one of their host plants, but this last year I obtained several citrus trees. I am so glad I didn't test them in the garden their first year. With all the freezes we have had, I might have killed them. I will plant them outside in the spring...maybe.
Anyone have any outside in North TX? How did they do through the freezes and snow this year.

I have a Lime - noid has thorns
Lemon - Improved Meyer
Orange - Satsuma

This is the Lime tree when it started to bloom last year.

Thumb of 2010-02-13/Sheila_FW/42cde3
Name: A.M.

angele
Feb 13, 2010 9:28 AM CST
Swallowtails are my favorites too, they really are the epitome of the floaty butterfly! I can't answer your question but I wonder if they would like the dwarf ornamental citris that can be grown in containers. If so, I think I'll have to get one or two & then just move them indoors for the winter.
Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Butterflies Garden Art
Ponds Dog Lover Hummingbirder Birds The WITWIT Badge Region: United States of America
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Sheila_FW
Feb 13, 2010 9:48 AM CST
The three I have are about 4foot tall and still in their pots. I had the most wonderful lemon scent in the shop this last month when they bloomed. I have the plant neon blubs and they think it is sunshine. Now the orange is beginning to bloom. Hurray!

Just incase someone doesn't know, this is the Giant Swallowtail pic. I raise and release them in my yard to lay more eggs on my plants...and on we go. It is this butterfly that uses the citrus trees for it's host plant. So I don't spray pesticides in my yard where it would kill my caterpillars.

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Name: A.M.

angele
Feb 13, 2010 9:59 AM CST
I can just imagine how yummy your shop smells. That photo is gorgeous!! No pesticides here either. :)
Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Butterflies Garden Art
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Sheila_FW
Feb 13, 2010 10:26 AM CST
That one was placed there by my Great Nephew Caden. I love sharing my passion with the kids in my life.

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Name: A.M.

angele
Feb 13, 2010 10:29 AM CST
Now that picture is a smile-maker!
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Feb 13, 2010 11:45 AM CST
Speaking of Giant Swallowtails, one of my favorite host trees is the Hop Tree, Ptelea trifoliata. I really can't understand why this isn't sold in every nursery in the country. I have to credit a guy who was volunteering at a new state natural area for telling me about its value to butterflies. He later became a park ranger. I already knew the Hop Tree by sight, but he showed the volunteers a caterpillar on the tree they had moved near the house they were using as headquarters. It was a Giant Swallowtail cat. Later, I found out that the Two-tailed Tiger Swallowtail also used the Hop Tree across the road on unoccupied land. So I had to have some! I found one to dig up in an area that was going to be developed and rescued it.

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I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Butterflies Garden Art
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Sheila_FW
Feb 13, 2010 1:44 PM CST
I don't have that one, but might have to see if someone has it at RU time.
Name: Sandy Coffman
Jacksonville, Florida
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wren
Feb 14, 2010 12:53 PM CST
If you want a cold hearty citrus get the ones on the Flying Dragon root stock. Mine where not even touched by the freeze this year.

Sandy
Name: A.M.

angele
Feb 14, 2010 2:42 PM CST
Linda, thanks for the info on Ptelea trifoliata. It is native here though I don't remember ever seeing one on my hikes. Will keep my eyes open now!

Wren, cold hardy citrus, huh?? Wow! Just did a little research on the Flying Dragon root stock, looks very promising.
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
Feb 14, 2010 9:01 PM CST
I planted some of the Hop tree seeds this winter in a pot, I hope they do well, we shall see. Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
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TexasPuddyPrint
Mar 4, 2010 9:13 PM CST
The GSTs out here mainly use the citrus trees. They seem to prefer tangerine over grapefruit in my yard but at the ranch they prefer the orange trees over the lime, lemon and grapefruit trees. Once in a while I'll have cats on the rue - which I keep in my yard for the Black Swallowtails too.

Also out at the ranch they use native Colima (prickly lime ash) and barretta (torchwood). It's always nice to see those big butterflies flitting around :o)

I love to see them puddling too.

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My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Butterflies Garden Art
Ponds Dog Lover Hummingbirder Birds The WITWIT Badge Region: United States of America
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Sheila_FW
Aug 20, 2011 5:32 PM CST

Eggs on the Hercules Club in July 2010

Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
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fiwit
Aug 21, 2011 5:35 AM CST
Sheila_FW said:I don't have that one, but might have to see if someone has it at RU time.


A Nearly Native Nursery in Fayetteville, GA sells the Ptelea Trifoliata. That's where I bought mine from a couple years ago. They *do* ship their plants, and last year I bought a 4' cypress from them -- It arrived via UPS and was incredibly well-packed. (it died after planting, but that was my fault, not theirs. It might be the only plant of theirs that hasn't survived, for me)
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Butterflies Garden Art
Ponds Dog Lover Hummingbirder Birds The WITWIT Badge Region: United States of America
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Sheila_FW
Aug 21, 2011 11:11 AM CST
Wren....I have one now thanks to Linda_TX. She brought me one to the San Marcos Round Up last year. I promptly broke it with a hose but it survived and is about 2 or 3 foot tall now. A good nursery is always a good tip, thanks.
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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LindaTX8
Aug 21, 2011 6:35 PM CST
My largest Hop Tree is not close enough and hasn't been watered enough lately...some of the leaves are turning yellow. I managed to get a hose out near enough today and have a sprinkler going now that will reach it. Trying to keep the Sweet Everlastings that are a bit closer to the yard alive also. Not easy...wild animals have broken the ends of two hoses that were connected to each other so I could water. This...in spite of all the water I put out for the wildlife!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
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Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
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sheryl
Aug 23, 2011 7:51 PM CST
Some people's kids, I tell ya..... Glare
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Science is not the answer, it is the question.


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