Passion Vine Butterflies

This Corky Stem passion is a native vine that is great for our State's Butterfly, the Zebra Longwing.

This Corky Stem passion is a native vine that is great for our State’s Butterfly, the Zebra Longwing.

May brings us flowers and Butterflies in all shapes and colors. Zebra Longwings (our State butterfly), Gulf Fritillary and the Julia are Butterflies that feed only on passion vines and are the most abundant butterfly in this area.  All three adults feed on nectar but the Zebra and Julia also feed on pollen and scientists believe the pollen enables the adult to live for up to 6 months.  Most other adult Butterflies live only a few weeks.  Adults can be seen throughout the year, but in smaller numbers in the Winter.  Zebra Longwings are social butterflies that roost at night, in a gathering of up to 60 and then they return each night to the same tree. This is a very unusual habit for Butterflies. Zebras prefer to live and fly in hammocks, and under trees and palms, but they will venture out into the open in search of food. The life-cycle of the Zebra Longwing from egg to adult can be as short as 21 days in the warmer months of the year. Planting the corky-stemmed passion vine guarantees a visit from these little creatures to your garden!

Gulf Fritillary. Gulf fritillaries live along the gulf coast and through out Florida. It is the most common butterfly in this area and we have found in our garden that it has the highest number of caterpillars Orange with silver and black spots this butterfly loves the Lavender Lady, Inspiration, Maypop and Incense varieties of passion vine. Be careful, these vine scan be aggressive and will need to be trimmed periodically.

Julia.  This is a fast flying orange butterfly and is rarely seen in this area. She looks very similar to the Gulf Fritillary, but with less spotting.  Julia likes Lavender Lady, Inspiration and Incense varieties of passion vine.

Planting passion vines will attract these butterflies and help produce many caterpillars.  The pretty flowers will also keep your garden blooming beautifully!

Don’t forget to include plants like Pentas, Porter Weed, Lantana, Milkweed, Verbena, and Salvia to feed the adult butterflies.
Your butterfly garden is going to be beautiful!