Who’s Monching the Dill?

When creating a beautiful butterfly or pollinator garden, it is easy to forget that it isn’t just about planting beautiful flowers. It’s about planting a variety of flaura and fauna to attract different species. Herbs happen to provide a loverly food source for some of our favorite pollinators. Planting some herbs in pots helps contain the invasive spreaders like mint and dill.

The garden at my cottage is still in process. Since I moved in the fall, the garden was overgrown and it was hard to tell what all the plants were. So during my first summer here, I needed to let everything grow in to be able to identify out what needed to go and what plants should stay. As I started to clear the not so good ones (goodbye cow parsnip!) and fine tune the garden, I thought it was best to contain my herbs and vegetables in planters and pots.

Dill can be a bit invasive to grow in your garden. When the seeds drop, it can spread really fast and take over a garden. the following year those little seeds will even sprout up in the cracks of a patio or driveway!

When I was watering the planters I noticed that something had been monching on my dill. The frilly fronds were now sad stubs.

What happened to my delicious dill?

monched dill plant parsley worm
sad monched on dill plant

A couple days later I found the culprit, the parsley worm. Turns out it loved my dill, but didn’t touch my parsley (yet).

parsley worm eating dill plant

Those stripes look familiar. After a bit of research, I found out it is a Parsley Worm

No need to panic when it comes to the parsley worm. This caterpillar is just storing up energy for a beautiful metamorphosis. You see, a parsley worm will become a stunning black swallowtail butterfly!

black swallowtail butterfly
swallowtail photo courtesy of the IDNR

I should have remembered that dill is another great plant to attract butterflies and other pollinators to your garden.

plants for pollinators

The parsley worm is typically not going to end up eating all your dill. It may just look a bit pathetic for a bit. Personally, I don’t mind sharing. There is plenty of dill to go around. Once the parsley worm moves on, the dill should recover nicely.

The black swallowtail butterfly can be found statewide in Illinois. They live in open areas, such as fields and gardens. The larva [parsley worm] feeds on plants of the parsley family. They love wild carrot, parsley and DILL.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a garden in Illinois. You can still attract one of the varieties of swallowtail butterflies found around the US. I bet the parsley worm will happily stop by your garden to snack on your dill plants. They are kind of cute, aren’t they?

parsley worm eating dill plant

Next year, I am planning a special corner of the garden just for dill plants. Then I will have plenty of dill for me and for the parsley worms.

I am going to keep my eyes out for the chrysalis but even if I don’t find it, I am looking forward to having the beautiful swallowtail butterflies gracefully flying around my butterfly garden.

I would love to hear what your favorite plants you use to attract butterflies to your garden. Drop a note in the comments.

a biento, Juliet

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