Cabbage White Butterfly Host Plant

Cabbage White Butterfly History

Cabbage White butterfly Host Plant-cabbage-white-collecting-nectar
The cabbage white butterfly collecting nectar

The Europeans were responsible for the introduction of the cabbage white butterfly to North America, these butterflies also spread to Siberia and Asia. It’s recorded that the cabbage white also called cabbage butterfly was first sighted in Quebec Canada in 1860 and is most commonly found in Sidney Australia and loves open spaces such as woodlands, forests, heath, and urban areas.

The cabbage white butterfly can be identified by its white cream color with small black dots on its wings, the chrysalis is greenish in color that changes pale green to light brown with aging and remains attached to the host plant. The adult larva has a green to bluish-green coloration with a black ring and small black pints around the spiracles.

The caterpillar however has a lateral row of dashes and a yellow mid-dorsal line, both in yellow. Their green makes them camouflage and invisible to predators. The adult cabbage white butterfly lives up to 3 weeks.

Cabbage white caterpillars damage

The cabbage white caterpillar is best known for its destructive behavior feasting on vegetables such as turnips, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, bok choy,  radishes,  brussel sprouts, and cabbages. But as an adult, the butterfly feeds on nectar from flowers, besides seeing the cabbage white in your garden other signs of their presence include.

  • Caterpillar excrement on the hearts of cauliflower
  • The eggs will be found on the leaves underside
  • Plant leaves will have holes in them
  • Garden plants health will decline
  • The inner leaves of cabbage will show signs of damage
  • The physical presence of the caterpillars will be seen

Cabbage white predators

When growing food crops we should do our best to keep foods as pest-free as possible therefore to bring control to the cabbage white it’s best to introduce natural predators into your vegetable garden. Some of these predators are lacewing, lizards, some species of birds such as skylarks, house sparrows, and goldfinches. The weaver ant, spiders, lady beetles, yellow jackets, and some parasitic wasp.

Organic sprays

Some organic sprays to control the cabbage white are Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), Neem oil.

Homemade remedies

1. Garlic and water will give good results, to make this mixture simply crush 6 to 8 garlic cloves and let it soak or steep in about 2 cups of water overnight. Make sure to strain the mixture before placing it into a spry bottle getting rid of any big pieces that may clog the nozzle. Apply this mixture every 10 days. Be sure also to get the undersides of the plant’s leaves, the goal is to get both the leaves surfaces as well as the undersides.

2. Mix 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil-based liquid soap with 1 gallon of water, place this mixture into a spray bottle. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun sets coat both the leaves surfaces and the undersides with this mixture getting total coverage. Infected plants should be sprayed every 2 t0 3 days for 2 weeks, to avoid overwintering sites after harvesting remove all infected plant parts or material.

3. Mix 3 tbsp of baking soda along with 2 tbsp of oil soap, 2 tbsp of cooking oil, combine these 3 ingredients first followed by mixing into 2 gallons of water once this solution is thoroughly mixed add 2 tbsp of vinegar. Shake well and add this mixture to a spray bottle and use immediately on infected plant getting total coverage of both the top and undersides of the plant’s leaves along with the stems.

Additional information

1. When using spray solutions to eliminate soft-bodied insects and other sap-sucking insects its is best to apply late in the afternoon to avoid coming in contact with beneficial insects and pollinators.

2. To avoid injury to plants or leaf burn apply on days that are dry and overcast.

3. Don’t apply on rainy days or when rain is forecast because the solution will wash off.

Cabbage white butterfly host plants

Nectar-rich flowers of the cabbage white butterfly.

Although the cabbage white has caused much damage to vegetable gardens these butterflies are highly prized and have also been raised by many in a man-made control environment. Here is how it’s done.

How do you raise cabbage white butterflies?

In order to have much success with the cabbage white butterfly, the use of a plastic or glass container with a lid that’s in good repair is needed. In the lid of the box, there should be plenty of holes, these holes serve for ventilation and proper airflow or oxygen, the bottom of the container should be lined with paper for easy cleaning.

Fresh cabbage leaves can be placed on top of the paper, once the cabbage is laid you can now place the cabbage white caterpillar on the cabbage. The pupa can be kept in the seem-type container on a piece of kitchen paper that’s damp, make sure to always have the proper temperature and plenty of ventilation.

The cabbage white butterfly can be kept in a huge cage with the sides as mesh wire, a cage of this sort will keep the butterfly from flying into the sides of the cage along with providing good ventilation. Although a glass cage or terrarium can be used injury can occur if the butterfly flies into the sides.

The cabbage white butterfly environment

In order for the caterpillar, pupa, and butterfly to survive the temperature should be kept at  20 °C, at night and the day temperature should be 35 °C. with low humidity levels. High humidity encourages mold buildup which can be detrimental to pupa or caterpillars. Keep the humidity down by decreasing water or increasing the temperature in the cage.

The final word on the cabbage white butterfly host plant

The presence of the cabbage white butterfly can be a better sweet experience depending on how you view them, if they are making a meal out of your garden veggies then you may have an issue but if you are like some homeowners who raise them then it can be a pleasant experience. The cabbage white is a beautiful butterfly that has a rich history. Following this guide, however, will give you insights on how to raise them or control them giving you much success because you have come to the right place for the right information.


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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.