Frequently Asked Questions

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Would you send me your catalog?
When and how should I prune my butterfly bush ?
What zone do I live in ?
Why do you only ship plants to 27 states? Why can't you ship plants to the state I live in?
How is milkweed essential for the existence of the Monarch butterfly?
What's this critter that looks somewhat like a hummingbird but isn't a hummingbird?


y Can't You Ship Butterflies, Eggs, Caterpillars, and Chrysalises to My State?

If you wish to raise and/or release butterflies, you have two options for obtaining them. The first option is to capture butterflies that naturally reside within the borders of the state you live in. With few exceptions it is completely legal to do this. The second option for obtaining butterflies is to purchase them from a professional butterfly farmer, a person who grows and sells butterflies for profit.

The United States Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) determines which butterflies can be released in what state and also regulates the interstate movement of butterflies. The USDA makes its decisions based on a number of things. First, and most important, the butterfly must naturally reside in the state where it is being shipped to. If there are subspecies of a butterfly, the USDA attempts to keep those subspecies geographically separated from each other.

As previously mentioned, it is legal to catch, raise, and/or release any butterfly that you find within the borders of the state you reside in, so long as that particular butterfly isnít restricted from being captured in the wild. Butterflies on the threatened or endangered species list are not allowed to be taken from their natural environment. While there are limited exceptions to this rule, it is generally illegal to remove an endangered butterfly (in any life stage) from its location in the wild.

There are four butterfly species which are allowed to be released in any U.S. state and may legally be shipped to and from any of the 48 contiguous U.S. states. These are the Painted Lady, the American Lady, the Red Admiral, and the Cabbage White.

Five other butterfly species (Monarch, Black Swallowtail, Giant Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak, and Gulf Fritillary) are allowed to be shipped from one contiguous U.S. state to another so long as the USDA allows that particular butterfly to be shipped into that particular state, and then if, and only if, the shipper has a permit from the USDA to ship it.

Aside from the five butterflies listed above (Monarch, Black Swallowtail, Giant Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak, and Gulf Fritillary), it is illegal to ship, or in any other way transport, butterflies from one state to another without a permit. This being said, there are exceptions to this rule also. Butterfly exhibits, educational institutions, and such are sometimes able to obtain specialized permits from the USDA to receive butterflies that are not among the five butterflies listed above.

The Monarch butterfly is not permitted to be shipped across the Continental Divide, not in either direction. Monarchs also cannot be shipped to Arizona, Montana, or Nevada.

To make matters even more complicated, some states prohibit even particular naturally occurring butterflies from being shipped into them. Black Swallowtails naturally occur in Maryland, but Maryland does not permit this butterfly species to be shipped into it from other states. Monarchs, Black Swallowtails, and Mourning Cloaks may be shipped into Connecticut but no butterfly species is permitted to be released into the wild in that state.

As you can see, itís a rather difficult job keeping track of which butterfly can be released in which state and also determining which butterfly can be shipped where. And to make it even more difficult, the rules often change every couple of years.

Do you have a catalog? Would you send me a catalog?

   Sorry, we do not publish a catalog. Some of our milkweed plants sell out earlier than we hoped during the growing season (May thru October). The plant species we offer in May might differ from what we offer in July, and what we offer in July could be different from what we offer in October. Because our inventory changes from month to month, a printed catalog just would not work for our business.
   We generally don't start shipping Monarch eggs, caterpillars, or pupae until mid to late June. Between then and late September (when we stopping shipping for the season), we sometimes sell out of eggs, caterpillars, and/or pupae and must temporarily remove the shopping cart buttons from the web site.
   We update our web pages on a regular basis during our growing season so that it accurately reflects what we have available for shipping. We remove shopping cart buttons when plants or Monarchs sell out, even when it's only temporarily---then add the buttons as soon as we have more stock to ship.
   Our web site functions as our catalog. If you like our web site and might like to place an order sometime (or just revisit for any reason), please bookmark it.

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When and how should I prune my butterfly bush ?

   We suggest cutting butterfly bushes back to about 4 feet high for the winter (so that heavy winter snow won't crush the bush to the ground). And don't cut the butterfly bushes back too early; November is our recommendation.
   Depending upon the severity of winter, your butterfly bush may appear dead in spring. Don't despair. Even when a butterfly bush doesn't develop leaf buds on the previous year's branches, it will usually sprout new growth from the root system. Be patient though. It might be late May before your butterfly bush shows signs of new growth.
   In early June, cut off any branches which died over the winter. This is also a good time to trim the butterfly bush to the shape you'd like it to be.
   During its blooming period, usually mid July through September, you might deadhead (remove spend flowers) every two weeks or so. This assures that the bush will put its energy into producing more flowers rather than seed.

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What zone do I live in ?


To determine the zone you live in, you must look at a USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Often you will find these maps in seed, bulb, and perennial plant catalogs. We have included a plant hardiness zone map on our web site too. You can view it by clicking here on USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.    Please be patient while the picture downloads.

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Why do you only ship plants to 27 states? Why can't you ship plants to the state I live in?

   The U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the plant health agencies in each of the 50 states, regulate the interstate shipment of nursery and greenhouse stock. The regulations exist to minimize the spread of harmful insects, diseases, and other pests from one state to another.
   By shipping plants bare root, a grower is permitted to ship to many more states than a grower who ships plants in soil. This is because soil can harbor numerous insects and diseases which do not occur above the soil line. Shipping plants in soil, as we do, dramatically decreases the number of states to which we can ship.
   While we regret that we cannot ship to most states in the USA, we feel confident that what we do ship will arrive at its destination  in good condition because it is shipped in soil, the same soil the plants have been growing in for months.
   We would like to expand the territory to which we can ship plants but we can't. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the plant health agencies in each state, for good reason, forbids that.
   We are able to ship plants to these states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The USDA Japanese Beetle Quarantine:

Japanese Beetles are highly destructive insects. They feed on the foliage, flowers, and fruit of over 300 plant species. They can completely defoliate a plant when they attack in large numbers.

Japanese Beetles are native to Japan , where they are not much of a problem because natural predators keep their numbers in check. Somehow Japanese Beetles were introduced into the U.S. in 1916, first being spotted in Riverton , N.J. Since then, they have spread across the eastern U.S. and are now numerous in most of the states that lie east of the Mississippi River

Japanese Beetles lay their eggs in soil. The eggs hatch in eight to fourteen days. The larvae, which are grubs, feed mostly on grass roots and can severely damage lawns, golf courses, and pasture fields. In October, the grubs dig deeper into the soil to over-winter. Around mid April they come out of hibernation, begin to feed again, grow to a mature size of about 1Ē long, and then pupate. In June adult beetles begin to emerge from the pupae and rampantly feed on foliage, flowers, and fruit.

Because they are so destructive, the USDA imposed the Japanese Beetle Quarantine. The quarantine restricts the movement of soil that could potentially be infected with Japanese Beetle eggs and/or larvae into areas not yet heavily infected with this insect. Since most of my plants are grown outdoors in pots, Japanese Beetles eggs and/or larvae could be in the soil. Hence, my plants cannot be shipped to those states which are not yet heavily infected with Japanese Beetles.

Restrictions are imposed on the movement of soil that could potentially be infected with Japanese Beetle larvae from the quarantined (shaded) areas into or through the unshaded areas (the area not yet heavily infected with Japanese Beetles). We are located in Pennsylvania and are thus, are only permitted to ship our potted perennials to the states that are in the quarantined (shaded) area.
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How is milkweed essential for the existance of the monarch butterfly?

  Adult monarchs (and many other butterfly species) love nectar-rich milkweed as a food source, but there is a more important reason for the monarch's close attachment to milkweed. Milkweed is the only plant material that monarch caterpillars can eat. Remove monarch caterpillars from milkweed and they will starve; or they will eat other plant material, sicken, and then die. The scientific name for milkweed is Asclepias (pronounced as-KLEE-pea-us). Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed, pictured here), is well known to most northeasterners. It grows along roadsides, in fields, and  in open meadows. Producing sweet smelling mauve-pink flowers  late June through July, common milkweed usually matures at about 48" high. Some people assume common milkweed to be the only milkweed species which exists.  Actually, over 100 species of Asclepias grow in the USA, with over 200 different species growing worldwide.
   Common milkweed is not the only Asclepias species which can be utilized as a food source for the monarch caterpillar. In reality, any Asclepias serves the purpose, although some species lure more egg-laying female monarchs than others.
   Among the Asclepias species highly utilized by female monarchs for egg-laying are Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed) and Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed).  We offer both these species on our 'Milkweed' page.


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What's this critter that looks somewhat like a hummingbird but isn't a hummingbird ?

This is a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth. It belongs to the family of sphinx moths, which are daylight fliers. Like most moths and butterflies, the hummingbird clearwing moth sips nectar through a coiled tube (proboscis) which extends from its mouth.  This moth has a wingspan of 1-1/2" to 2-1/2" and feeds in mid-air while beating its wings at a rapid rate (just like a hummingbird). A regular visitor to butterfly bushes, hummingbird clearwing moths also like the nectar of beebalm, phlox, lilac, thistle, and more.


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Rose Franklin's Perennials
107 Butterfly Lane      Spring Mills, PA  16875

(814) 422-8968        Email:

During our busy shipping season (May 1 thru September 30), please email, don't call.


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Revised: February 25, 2021