Butterflies and poinsetias - Knowledgebase Question

Washington, dc
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Question by centrallic
June 21, 2007
Are butterflies attracted to poinsettias or do they lay their eggs on them? I saved a couple of poinsettias from Christmas because they have sap like the milkweeds which some butterflies favor. These plants are loving being outside in the garden. What a shame they won't survive cold weather.

Answer from NGA
June 21, 2007
Many gardeners will keep their poinsettias in containers and set them outside for the summer, then bring them indoors in the fall so they can keep them from year to year. In a brief search I found that poinsettia flowers are a nectar source for butterflies -- including monarchs -- during the winter months in warm climates such as Florida or New Zealand. I did not find any reference indicating that the larval stage feeds on the plants, however. I hope this answers your question.

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