butterfly host plants, Black Swallowtail on Rue

(Rose Franklin's Perennials)

Host  Plants

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Our new 'Plant Index' page lists all the plants we expect  to have available for the 2014 shipping season.

During the shipping season (May thru October), our Facebook fans will receive notification of special promotions being offered on our web site. They will also be periodically posted on which plants are especially nice at that particular time (making these plants a better buy at that particular time).
   To significantly increase the butterfly population in your butterfly garden, you should provide food for baby butterflies (caterpillars). For each species in the butterfly kingdom, its larva (caterpillar) can only feed on specific plant species. These specific plant species are referred to as butterfly host plants or caterpillar host plants or butterfly larval plants. One larva's staple is another one's poison.

We ship perennials from May through October.
Important Note 
We ARE able to ship plants to the following states within the USA:  Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. We cannot ship to other destinations. Sorry, no exceptions! If you do not live in one of the states we are permitted to ship to, do not place an order. We will not ship your order and will charge you a $3.00 service charge to cancel your order and return your payment.

Butterfly Host Plants Available For 2014 Shipping:

Most of our perennials are shipped in 3" to  4" pots. 
A few may be shipped bare root.    Orders are shipped via USPS Priority Mail.
Unless otherwise stated, the plants shown on this page prefers full sun.

Baltimore Checkerspot caterpillar host plants; turtlehead; Chelone lyonii Pink Turtlehead    (Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips')

Turtlehead grows 24"-30" high and produces spikes of bright pink flowers over dark green foliage. It prefers a moist soil and blooms August through September. Full sun or part shade. Deer resistant.

Host plant for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly.

Note:  Our Pink Turtlehead may not be ready for shipping until late May. If your order includes this plant, your entire order will be held until this plant is ready for shipping.

Perennial, zones 4-9.        Sorry, Sold Out for 2014.


Baltimore Checkerspot

butterfly larval plants; Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' 'Husker Red' Penstemon
(Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red')

Baltimore checkerspot butterflies seek out turtlehead (above) for egg laying. But half-grown Baltimore checkerspot caterpillars often seek out Penstemon as a food source. 'Husker Red' Penstemon has dark foliage and white to light pink flower spikes in June and July. It grows 30"-36" high. Full sun or part shade. Deer resistant.

Perennial, zones 3-9.       $6.00 each

More Penstemons (the pink- and red-flowering ones) on the 'Hummingbird Plants' page.


Read our article on Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies.

Hollyhock 'Pastorale'      (Alcea rosea ficifolia 'Pictorale')

Of all the old-fashioned cottage garden flowers, Hollyhock tends to be the favorite. The stately flower stalks of 'Pastorale' Hollyhock often grow 5' high and provide a charming vertical accent to the garden. Hollyhocks usually bloom June thru August. While Hollyhocks  are biennial, self-sown seedlings should insure a continuing supply of plants without any effort on the gardener's part. 'Pastorale' includes a splendid mixture of pastel flower colors. Sorry, no choice of flower color. Deer resistant.

Biennial which usually reseeds         Sorry, Sold Out for 2014.


Painted Lady

Hibiscus moschuetos 'Southern Belle' 'Southern Belle' Hibiscus
(Hibiscus moscheutos 'Southern Belle')

Hibiscus 'Southern Belle' grows 30" - 40" high and produces huge 8" - 10" flowers late August thru frost. Flower color may be white, red, or pink, Sorry, no choice of flower color. Full sun or part shade. Deer resistant.

It is a host plant for Gray Hairstreak butterflies.  

Perennial, zones 5-9.        Sorry, Sold Out for 2014. More Hibiscus on the "More Perennials H-O' page---and these serve as hosts for the Hairstreak too.



Gray Hairstreak

Helen's Flower, Helenium 'Bruno', Sneezeweed, butterfly host plants Helen's Flower  (also known as Sneezeweed)
(Helenium autumnale)

Helen's Flower (Sneezeweed) grows 24"-36" high and produces small, daisy like flowers July thru August. Helenium autumnale, the species we offer here, bears yellow, orange, or mahogany-red flowers. Deer resistant and drought tolerant.

Utilized as a host plant by the Dainty Sulphur butterfly.

Perennial, zones 4-9.          Sorry, Sold Out for 2014.


Dainty Sulphur

caterpillar butterfly host plants; rue; Ruta graveolens Rue  (Ruta graveolens)

Rue is a beautiful garden plant, with lacy blue-green leaves and many small but showy bright yellow flowers from June through August. Known as herb o' grace, because its branches were once used by Catholic priests to sprinkle holy water. Rue grows 30"-36" high. Deer resistant.
Note: Some people are allergic to Ruta graveolens, causing small water blisters or rash to break out on skin.

Rue is utilized as a host plant by Black Swallowtail (pictured right) and Giant Swallowtail (pictured below) butterflies.

Perennial, zones 4-9.           Sorry, Sold Out for 2014.




Black Swallowtail

Dictamnus, Gss Plant, butterfly host plants Gas Plant
(Dictamnus fraxinella 'Rubra')
A favorite at our mail order nursery, Gas Plant grows to about 36" high and produces beautiful pink flower spikes in late spring. The leaves and flowers have a fragrant lemon scent. These plants will not likely bloom until 2014. Deer resistant.

As discovered by Rose many years ago, a host plant for Giant Swallowtail butterflies.

, zones 3-8.          Sorry, not available in 2014.


Giant Swallowtail

American Lady butterfly host plants; Artemisia stellariana 'Silver Brocade' 'Silver Brocade' Artemisia
(Artemisia stellariana 'Silver Brocade')

Looks very similar to annual dusty miller! Grows 10"-15" high and requires well drained soil. Deer resistant and drought tolerant.

Utilized as a host plant by American Lady butterflies.

Perennial, zones 6-8.      $6.00 each



American Lady

Baptisia australis, False Indigo, butterfly host plant False Indigo
(Baptisia australis)

False Indigo grows 36" - 40" high and produces blue sweet pea-like blossoms. Its flower spikes rise above blue-green foliage on gray stems. Usually blooming the month of June, it produces interesting seed pods after flowering. The foliage of this bold plant is beautiful and lush from spring thru late fall. A beautiful perennial that is hard to find.     Deer resistant. 

Host plant for the Orange Sulphur, the Clouded Sulphur (pictured right), and the Eastern Tailed Blue.

Perennial, zones 3-9.      $6.00 each


Clouded Sulphur

Baptisis 'Carolina Moonlight' 'Carolina Moonlight' False Indigo
(Baptisia 'Carolina Moonlight')

'Carolina Moonlight' False Indigo grows 36" - 40" high and produces yellow sweet pea-like blossoms. Its flower spikes rise above its foliage on sturdy stems. Usually blooming the month of June, it produces interesting seed pods after flowering. The foliage of this bold plant is beautiful and lush from spring thru late fall. A beautiful perennial that is hard to find.     Deer resistant.

Host plant for the Eastern Tailed Blue (pictured right), the Orange Sulphur, and the Clouded Sulphur (pictured above).

Perennial, zones 3-9.         $6.00 each 


Eastern-Tailed Blue

Wild Senna
(Cassia hebecarpa)

Wild Senna grows 48" 60" high and produces bright yellow flowers July thru August.  A U.S. native.

Utilized as a host plant for the Clouded Sulphur (pictured above), Cloudless Sulphur, Sleepy Orange (pictured right), and Southern Dogface.

Perennial, zones 5-8.       Sorry, not available in 2014.


Sleepy Orange

Trifolium rubens 'Red Feathers' 'Red Feathers' Trifolium
(Trifolium rubens 'Red Feathers')

'Red Feathers' Trifolium grows to about 24" tall and produces pinkish-lavender (not bright pink as in the picture) flowers June thru August. A hard perennial to find, this plant is actually a member of the alfalfa family.

Utilized as a host plant for the Clouded Sulphur (pictured above), Eastern Tailed Blue (pictured above), and Gray Hairstreak (pictured above).

Perennial, zones 5-9.        $6.00 each

Lupinus 'Russell Hybrids', Lupine

Lupine 'Russell Hybrids'
(Lupinus polyphyllus 'Russell Hybrids')
A favorite among early blooming perennials, Lupine blooms late May thru June. Growing 30"-36" high, the flower color may be red, pink, purple, lavender, yellow, or white. Many are bi-colored. Sorry, no choice of color.  Deer resistant.

Lupine is a host plant for the Silvery Blue butterfly (pictured right).

Perennial, zones 4-9.          $6.00 each    


Humulus lupulus, Hops, butterfly larvae host plant Hops  (Humulus lupulus)

Hops is a vigorous perennial vine which grows 15' - 30' long and produces 3" long greenish-yellow cone like flowers used in making beer.  It requires a trellis or fence to grow on. Old vines can be cut back in winter as the plant produces new ones every spring. 

Host plant for Question Mark (pictured right) and Comma butterflies.

Note: Some people are allergic to Hops and may develop a rash, cough, or difficulty in breathing when handling this plant.

Perennial, zones 4-8.              $7.00 each

Question Mark

Passiflora incarnata, Passion Flower Vine, larva host for Gulf Fritillary butterfly Purple Passion Flower  (Passiflora incarnata)

Purple Passion Flower, also known as Passionvine and Maypops,  is native to PA, OH, IL, IN, MO, KS, and all states laying to the south of these. Growing to 25' long, Purple Passion Flower produces 3" lavender blooms June thru August. Its seed pods (known as Maypops) develop about 3 months after flowering occurs and are about the size of chicken eggs. Passion Flower will climb up fences, arbors, and walls.

Host plant for the Gulf Fritillary.

Photo by Josh Hillman.

Perennial, zones 4-8.       $7.00 each

Gulf Fritillary

Sorry, no picture

of Pawpaw.

PawPaw     (Asimina triloba)

PawPaw trees grow to a height of 25' - 30'. They prefer rich, moist, well-drained soil in partly shaded locations (but will usually thrive in sunny spots too). PawPaw produces fruit which, when ripe, tastes like a blend of banana, mango, and pineapple. 

Host plant for the beautiful long-tailed, black and white striped Zebra Swallowtail.

Perennial, zones 5-9.              Sorry, Sold Out for 2014.

Zebra Swallowtail

Aristolochia macrophylla, Dutchman's Pipe Dutchman's Pipe  (also known as Pipevine)
(Aristolochia macrophylla)

Dutchman's Pipe is a vigorous perennial vine which grows 15' - 30' long and produces yellowish brown U-shaped flowers which resemble small versions of an old-fashioned smoker's pipe. Its heart shaped leaves are up to 10" wide. Dutchman's Pipe is a woodland native and requires moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Add well-rotted manure or compost to improve drainage. Because of its weight, this vine needs a sturdy trellis to grow on. Water in periods of drought.

Host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail.

Perennial, zones 4-8.               $9.00   (bare root clump)     Sold Out for 2014.

Pipevine Swallowtail

While these host Trees & Shrubs are too large for us to ship,
they can be picked up at the nursery (by appointment only).

Tree/Shrub Size Host Plant For Price
(Celtis occidentalis)
30"-36" seedling  (1 gallon pot) Hackberry Emperor, Tawny Emperor, Question Mark, Mourning Cloak, Snout  $8.00 each    5 for $35.00
(Lindera benzoin)
24"-36" seedling  (1 gallon pot) Spicebush Swallowtail  $12.00 each
Weeping Willow
(Salix Babylonica)
48"-60" seedling  (1 gallon pot) Red-Spotted Purple, Viceroy, Mourning Cloak, Tiger Swallowtail  $10.00 each
(Viburnum dentatum)
36"-48" bush Hummingbird Moth  $18.00 each

Live within driving distance of central Pennsylvania?
If so, you might want to attend one of our Gardening For Butterflies presentations.

Saturday, July 19,   Sunday, July 20,
Sunday, July 27,
Saturday, August 9,   Sunday, August 10,
Saturday, August 16,   Sunday, August 17

Please visit the 'Home' page of our web site for more information.

We are a mail order perennial nursery.
To place an order for any of these butterfly host plants:  (1) Utilize our on-line shopping cart  or  (2) print our online order form, fill it out, and then mail it to us, along with your check or money orderSome of the features of our online shopping cart fail to work correctly with some Internet Service Providers. If you have problems using our shopping cart, please print our order form, fill it out, and then mail it to us. Sorry for the inconvenience.
   Quantities are limited on some of our nursery stock. Plants will be reserved to fill orders in the sequence in which orders are received. Please order at your earliest convenience to avoid disappointment. Please do not order plants which are not currently posted with a picture, plant description, and price. 

If you don't understand the meaning of 'butterfly host plants', please take the time to read our Save the Butterflies article.

Although We Do Not Have All Of These Plants To Offer,
Here Are Some More Host Plants You May Wish To Locate
For Your Butterfly Garden:
Butterfly: Host Plants:
Monarch Milkweed
Black Swallowtail Dill, Parsley, Fennel, Rue, Queen Anne's Lace
Tiger Swallowtail Wild Cherry, Yellow Poplar, Tulip Tree
Spicebush Swallowtail Spicebush, Sassafras
Giant Swallowtail Citrus Trees, Prickly Ash, Gas Plant (Dictamnus)
Pipevine Swallowtail Pipevine, Dutchman's Pipe
Zebra Swallowtail Pawpaw (tree)
Great-Spangled Fritillary Violets
Meadow Fritillary Violets
Question Mark Nettle, Hops, False Nettle, Elm, Hackberry
Comma (Hop Merchant) Nettle, Hops. False Nettle, Elm, Hackberry
Red Admiral Stinging Nettle, False Nettle
Milbert's Tortoiseshell Nettle
Mourning Cloak Willow, Birch, Elm, Hackberry
Painted Lady Hollyhock, Pearly Everlasting, 'Silver Brocade' Artemisia
American Lady Pearly Everlasting, Hollyhock, Artemisia 'Silver Brocade', Balsam
Common Buckeye Plantain, Snapdragon, Heliotrope, Verbena (offered on our 'Butterfly Nectar Plants' page.)
Viceroy Willow, Aspen, Poplar, Cherry
White Admiral Wild Cherry, Birch, Poplar
Red-Spotted Purple Wild Cherry, Poplar, Birch, Aspen
Hackberry Emperor Hackberry
Tawny Emperor Hackberry
Baltimore Checkerspot Turtlehead, Penstemon, Plantain
Pearl Crescent Aster
Orange Sulphur Alfalfa, False Indigo
Clouded Sulphur Clover, Alfalfa, False Indigo, Wild Senna
Sleepy Orange Wild Senna
Gray Hairstreak Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, Hollyhock
Silvery Blue Lupine

Rose Franklin's Perennials
107 Butterfly Lane      Spring Mills, PA  16875

(814) 422-8968        Email:  RoseFranklin@aol.com


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Copyright 2002-2014.  [Rose Franklin's Perennials]. All rights reserved.
Revised: August 22, 2014