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What do Painted Lady Butterflies eat?

My daughters Painted Lady Butterfly larvae have started making their cacoons today. I know we will soon have butterflies but I lost the paperwork that came with the kit so what do I feed them when they become butterflies? At least for the couple of days we will have them before we release them?

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3 Responses to “What do Painted Lady Butterflies eat?”

  1. Peapod

    A butterfly feeding station can be made from a standard insect water fountain. Use a hole punch to make a hole in the center of the cap of a vial. Roll up an 8-cm (3″) square of paper towel and push it through the hole in the cap. Push the vial into the plastic vial holder to prevent the fountain from tipping over.

    Butterflies feed by sipping nectar through their long coiled proboscis. A substitute nectar can be made with sugar and water. Put 1/4 teaspoon of sugar in a vial and fill it with water. Attach the wick cap to the vial. Cut a crude flower from a piece of red or orange paper, make several criss-cross cuts in the center, and push the vial through. The flower will attract the butterflies and give them a place to land.

    Provide mallow leaves (optional). When adults emerge, provide a bouquet of fresh mallow leaves in the cage. Use the hole punch to punch a few holes in a plastic cup lid. Fill the cup with water and snap on the lid. Stick leaves and small branches of mallow through the holes. Females will lay eggs on the mallow leaves.

  2. haysoos2

    Peapods answer nailed it perfectly. So I’ll just add that Painted Lady larvae LOVE to eat thistles.

    I wish we could get them to successfully overwinter up here, but all of our Painted Ladies are ones that migrate up from southern areas. A few years ago we were happily invaded by tens of thousands of butterflies.

  3. Alan Turing

    I’ve seen many Painted Lady Butterflies on the Classic Butterfly plant that has the Latin name of Asclepias tuberosa. This is a easy to buy and grow perinneal for zones 3 -9 (pretty much everywhere). Takes full sun and dry soil.

    Painted Lady Butterflies are among my favorites. I collect butterflies but I’ve never added one to my collection.

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