Skip navigation.

Trap crops/flowers for butterflies/caterpillars

Last post 10-06-2013 6:41 PM by sue1002. 2 replies.

Page 1 of 1 (3 items)

  • 10/06/2013 03:02 PM
    Not Ranked
    Reply | Contact

    I have some serious issues with caterpillars on cabbage this year... If I use "butterfly attractant flowers" such as Bergamo or Buddleia, would I distract the butterflies from the cabbage, or just attract more in general? Also - can anyone recommend some good trap crops for caterpillars - I know that they tend to prefer pak choi or chinese cabbage over the cabbage... Unless anyone has a better idea... Thanks!

  • 10/06/2013 06:36 PM
    • kaydee
    • Perthshire
    • 15 Feb 2009
    • 634
    Top 25 Contributor
    Reply | Contact

    The best thing I ever came across for keeping cabbage white butterflies of my cabbages & other brassicas was to put a chunky onion ring round the base of the plant. It sounds insane but it does work. Apparently the insects smell the onion & think that is what it is & go off in search of other plants. You have to replace the rings as they dry out but it is worth the effort. The butterflies are in the garden but leave the crop alone. Best K

  • 10/06/2013 06:41 PM
    • sue1002
    • Ipswich, Suffolk
    • 06 Sep 2005
    • 9,699
    Top 10 Contributor
    Reply | Contact

     Caterpillars love all the brassica family.  I have Buddleja in my garden which the butterflies and other insects love but the cabbage white butterflies still make a beeline for the cabbages and sprouts.  The only sure way of keeping the butterflies out is to cover them with fine mesh.  One year I did use netting with holes small enough to keep butterflies out but that didn't stop the moths getting in and laying their eggs, and the crops were again doomed.

    I now use enviromesh which I find does keep out all the flying insects and I now get to keep all my cabbages Smile  I make up a cage by poking bamboo canes into the ground, drape the net over the canes and secure the bottom of the net to the ground with tent pegs and try not to leave any holes that insects can get through.  I've attached a picture below.