Giant Swallowtail Butterflies - how to attract and grow them

Giant Swallowtail butterfly
Giant Swallowtail butterflies are amazingly large and beautiful but have sort of ugly children. They are intentionally ugly of course, disguising themselves as bird droppings in order to keep from being eaten by said birds.

If you plant it they will come. In order to have these gorgeous animals in your flower beds you have to provide either citrus trees or Rue plants.
Rue shrub planted for
Giant Swallowtails to raise their babies.

Rue is cold hardy here and in our gardens the shrubs live 3 to 5 years before they die to be replaced by the seedlings that surround the mature plants.

At Johnny's Seeds, 200 seed pack is under $4 and if you plant a bunch of them you'll have plenty of shrubs that survive winter to feed next summer's migration of Giant Swallowtail Butterflies.
Giant Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar

Dianne's Seeds offers 100 seeds for $2.25

In previous years, I've noticed Black Swallowtail caterpillars eating Rue leaves when their #1 favorite food was not available for them.

I'll grant you that if you have a formal garden, Rue will look a mess but find a place for it anyway. The butterflies that you'll see will be worth a bit of a mess.

This one layed eggs and moved on the butterfly heaven, giving us a chance to photograph it on both sides. You can see how faded the colors are and how tattered her wings are.

These are my photos from our garden. Click to enlarge. Give me or my blog credit if you use them in any way personal or professional.


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