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Butterfly what/what on/where/when?

I was thinking of starting a thread (maybe a bit late for this year but if people have taken any photos, or can just remember) as a reference to what butterflies people have seen and what on, perhaps as a suggestion to what flowers will work best in a particular area for next years planting.

I'll start:

Small Tortoiseshell/Devils Bit Scabious//Lancashire/End Sep 2015




I'm massively impressed at how these plants are doing, they're always covered in bees but yesterday I got a nice surprise as two tortoiseshells were using them at the same time. We've had no rain for over a week but these plants are like a filling station to all pollen and nectar gatherers. They were ignoring nearby plants such as Sedum Stonecrop, Verbana (still in flower but nothing using it now).

I'd welcome more sightings, next year I'm going to focus on Butterflies equally as bees, although I suspect a lot of the plants they love will be the same.



  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,472


     Red Admiral on sedum. Sept 2014 Nottingham/Derbyshire border


  • BiljeBilje Posts: 727
    A timely thread. I'm in the NE and have at least 6 red admirals feeding on Erysimum Bowles Purple. I wasn't sure if they were red admirals so I googled them yesterday. That satisfied my curiosity as I know there isn't a nettle patch close by...apparently they will lay eggs on hop plants...guess what? I have one 6 feet away and although I didn't see caterpillars the leaves were well chewed.

    The butterflies are also enjoying nectar sipping on my single dahlias.
  • At the moment the most popular plant is my large Michaelmans daisy, with Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma. Speckled Wood and Holly Blue. I also had a Brimstone on my Alstroemeria Elvira. Also popular are Aster Frickartii "Monch" and Verbena bonariensis.









  • I recently went to a garden centre where there were two butterflies, Red Admirals, both on Ceratostigma plumbaginoides despite all the other flowers, so I bought one! It is still attracting a few butterflies.

  • Great keep the ideas coming! This could turn into a useful thread. image I did spot a Red Admiral today but it seemed more camera shy than the small tortoiseshell.

    @Alan Clark2I did look into Michaelmas Daisys but I was put off by them being floppy, are there any smaller varieties that are equally as attractive?

  • Small Tortoiseshell on Sedum today. Same plant held the gardens first ever Clouded Yellow a couple of weeks ago

  • Tanglefoot, there are several varieties which are only about one foot tall, I have just put in some Rose Quartz (pale pink) which have attracted one or two butterflies. I expect they will be more attractive when they have grown to a bigger clump.

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 13,027

    Last 2 weeks, had quite a few Speckled Woods appear, seem to like all the usual nectar rich plants.

    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.
  • Bowles' Mauve - Orange tip (also on forget me nots), Small White (also on Knapweed & Lythrum, seem to like purple!) Meadow Brown, Red Admiral(also on Monch & sedum)

    Sedum - Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Comma

    My one and only Brimstone (not this year) headed straight for some scarlet 'geraniums' - they seem to like exotics! Also a small grey/brown hawkmoth that's been around for the last few days has tried just about everything, but most often on lamb's ears and Bowles' Mauve. The year I had Painted Ladies they loved the marjoram.

    It depends too on where you are and where things are planted I think. My seasons are behind those even a mile or two away because I am high up and there are no other gardens in the immediate vicinity. This makes for fewer butterflies overall but I guess any there are head for my garden!  Some plants are shaded for part of the day as the sun moves behind the trees and this does affect their popularity, so it pays to have several in different places.

  • On the coast East devon. Rather worried about the lack of butterflies this year. I red admiral and about a dozen or more cabbage whites . There are plenty of flowers in the garden sedum etc that are usually covered, but not this year. Lots of bees and a few dragon flies around. You can guess where the cabbage whites are!
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