Backyard Buddies
Painted Lady Butterflies

Photo: David Cook

Painted Lady Butterflies

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The Australian Painted Lady butterfly migrates from place to place and loves to visit gardens. In southern Australia, the best time to spot them is after a few warm, sunny days at the end of winter, and from spring to autumn.

In the northern part of the Painted Lady butterfly's range, they live in the same spot year round.

Whenever they rest or stop to feed, they spread their wings out low to keep predators away. The vibrant colours and patterns advertise to birds and other animals that they are poisonous.

Butterflies also spread their wings to soak up warmth from the sun and to show off their patterns to potential mates.

Butterflies are attracted to gardens with lots of nectar-giving plants that they can feed on.

Butterflies love flowering plants like Native Finger Lime, Banksia, Bottlebrush (Callistemon) and Eucalyptus. However, the most important factor for their breeding is plants that they can eat while they are caterpillars.

Plant some Everlastings Helichrysum, and Golden Everlasting Xerochrysum bracteatum for Painted Lady caterpillars to feed on, and you're likely to have some small brown visitors to your garden that turn into lovely butterflies.

Did you know? 

The Painted Lady butterfly has such strong wing muscles that it can fly over oceans. Ships have reported seeing butterflies flying around them in the middle of the sea.


To attract Painted Lady butterflies, plant Sunset Serenade Boronia muelleri, Native Daisy Brachyscome multifida varieties, Golden Buttons Chrysocephalum apiculatum and other nectar giving plants.

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”’s all connected, your backyard to the big backyard and everything in between – we can all do our bit to help out nature.“

John - National Parks Volunteer, SA

Photo: OEH