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Nettles for butterflies

We have a large clump of stinging nettles in one corner of the garden, which we leave for wildlife, and eventually chuck into the compost heap. This month we've had a sudden influx of small tortoiseshell butterflies (seven flew out of our oregano bed when I walked past it this morning) and I wondered if they'd hatched nearby.

Then I found two little bundles of caterpillars attached to nettle plants (there may be others). They look like the caterpillars of smal tortoiseshells, so it seems that it's been worth leaving the nettles, as this is where they breed.


  • DaisydayDaisyday Posts: 373

    You are doing a great job Magpie! I wish I had room for a clump of nettles in my garden. There are loads down in the road in a rough field so I take comfort from that.You could always google your caterpillars on the net just to confim what they are.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Make sure you don't throw any nettle seeds in the compost heap or they will return to haunt you.  

  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632

    Better still soak your nettles in a bucket of water for 2 weeks and you will have Iron rich feed for your plants.(a small amont 50 mils to a gallon of water)you can eat nettles when they are young but not when they get rather tough.

  • rena05rena05 Posts: 5

    I soak nettles like Flowering Rose does and I feed my tomatoes with about 50mls in I galleon of water. They make delicious soup when young. The buutterfies need all the help that we can give them. 

  • tedstertedster Posts: 1

    I soak nettles and wild comfry. And when my tomatoes have set their first trusses. I feed the juice neat.

  • Also did you know where there is nettles there well fertile ground.image

  • Also did you know where there is nettles there fertile ground. Its a sign of good soil.

  • Nettles can become a very useful garden inhabitant, for feed value, wildlife and much more.  It is a false rumour about nettles/compost heaps, if you remove roots and avoid composting old; seed bearing growth.  Provided your heap is well maintained,the heat generated will destroy the invasiveproperties feared traditionaly xx

  • I live in the country surrounded by wild flowers which inevitably end up in our garden.  For 17 years I have battled them, but recently really noticed for the first time bees buzzing around the bindweed flowers, and also on many other "weeds".  So now I am leaving them and just do the minimum amount of weeding, only where absolutely necessary.  It seems nature's flowers are all geared up to attract pollinators, so I don't want to interfere anymore!

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750

    Bravo Kathryn, flowers are flowers in my book, but I have to draw the line at bind weed and thistles. If the balance of nutrients isn't right in your garden you could ende up with it looking like an abandoned allotment. So Bravo but take care you still want diversity. Personally I'm happy to see bindweed in the park but not in my garden, it's a nightmare to get rid of. Having said that I don't have it but do have cooch and have resigned myself to that, telling myself the dogs love it. image

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