Butterfly gardening has become one of the most popular hobbies today. What could bring more joy than a beautiful butterfly fluttering around your garden?! Here are some tips to make your garden especially butterfly-friendly.
Your first step should be to find out which butterflies are in your area. You can do this by spending some time outdoors with your field guide to see which species are around. You can also check our checklists here.
Plant your butterfly garden in a sunny location (5-6 hours each day), but sheltered from the winds. Butterflies need the sun to warm themselves, but they won't want to feed in an area where they are constantly fighting the wind to stay on the plants. It is also a good idea to place a few flat stones in your sunny location so the butterflies can take a break while warming up.
Butterflies need water just like we do. Keep a mud puddle damp in a sunny location, or fill a bucket with sand and enough water to make the sand moist.
DO NOT USE PESTICIDES IN YOUR GARDEN!
To learn how to garden organically, click here.
Butterflies use two different types of plants - those that provide nectar for the adults to eat (nectar plant), and those that provide food for their offspring (host plant). It is best to find out which plant species are native to your area and plant those rather than exotic species.
Below are list of the more common butterflies with their host and nectar plants.
We've put together good selections of butterfly gardening books and plants and seeds to attract butterflies.
|BUTTERFLY||CATERPILLAR HOST PLANT||BUTTERFLY NECTAR SOURCE|
|American Painted Lady||Everlasting, Daisy, Burdock||Aster, Dogbane, Goldenrod, Mallow, Privet, Vetch|
|American Snout||Hackberry||Aster, Dogbane, Dogwood, Goldenrod, Pepperbush|
|Anise Swallowtail||Queen Anne's Lace||Buddleia, Joe Pye Weed|
|Baltimore Checkerspot||Turtlehead, False Foxglove, Plantain||Milkweed, Viburnum, Wild Rose|
|Black Swallowtail||Parsley, Dill, Fennel||Aster, Buddleia, Joe Pye Weed, Alfalfa|
|Clouded Sulphur||Clover||Goldenrod, Grape Hyacinth, Marigold|
|Cloudless Sulphur||Cassia, Apple, Clover||Zinnia, Butterfly Bush, Cosmos, Cushion Mum|
|Comma||Elm, Hops, Nettle||Butterfly Bush, Dandelion|
|Common Buckeye||Snapdragon, Loosestrife||Carpetweed|
|Common Checkered Skipper||Mallow/Hollyhock||Shepherd's needles, Fleabane, Aster, Red Clover|
|Common Sulphur||Vetch||Aster, Dogbane, Goldenrod|
|Common Wood-nymph||Purpletop Grass||Purple Coneflower|
|Eastern Pygmy Blue||Glasswort||Salt Bush|
|Eastern Tailed Blue||Clover, Peas||Dogbane|
|Falcate Orangetip||Rock Cress, Mustard||Mustard, Strawberry, Chickweed, Violet|
|Giant Swallowtail||Citrus||Joe Pye Weed, Buddleia|
|Gorgone Checkerspot||Sunflower||Sunflower, Goldenrod|
|Gray Hairstreak||Mallow/Hollyhock, Clover, Alfalfa||Thistle, Ice Plant|
|Great Spangled Fritillary||Violet||Thiste, Black-eyed Susan, Milkweed, Ironweed|
|Greater Fritillary||Violet||Joe Pye Weed|
|Gulf Fritillary||Pentas, Passion-vine||Joe Pye Weed|
|Hackberry Emperor||Hackberry||Sap, Rotting fruit, Dung, Carrion|
|Little Glassywing||Purpletop Grass||Dogbane, Zinnia|
|Little Yellow||Cassia, Clover||Clover|
|Mourning Cloak||Willow, Elm, Poplar, Birch, Nettle, Wild Rose||Butterfly Bush, Milkweed, Shasta Daisy, Dogbane|
|Orange Sulphur||Vetch. Alfalfa, Clover||Alfalfa, Aster, Clover, Verbena|
|Orange-barred Sulphur||Cassia||Many plants|
|Painted Lady||Thistle, Daisy, Mallow/Hollyhock, Burdock||Aster, Zinnia|
|Pipevine Swallowtail||Dutchman's Pipe, Pipevine||Buddleia|
|Queen||Milkweed||Milkweed, Beggar-tick, Daisy|
|Question Mark||Hackberry, Elm, Nettle, Basswood||Aster, Milkweed, Sweet Pepperbush|
|Red Admiral||Nettle||Stonecrop, Clover, Aster, Dandelion, Goldenrod, Mallow|
|Red-spotted Purple||Black Cherry, Willow, Poplar||Privet, Poplar|
|Silver-spotted Skipper||Black Locust, Wisteria||Dogbane, Privet, Clover, Thistle, Winter Cress|
|Silvery Checkerspot||Sunflower||Cosmos, Blanket Flower, Marigold, Phlox, Zinnia|
|Sleepy Orange||Cassia, Clover||Blue Porter, Beggar Tick, Aster|
|Spicebush Swallowtail||Spicebush, Sassafras||Dogbane, Joe Pye Weed, Buddleia|
|Spring Azure||Dogwood, Viburnum, Blueberry, Spirea, Apple||Blackberry, Cherry, Dogwood, Forget-me-not, Holly|
|Tawny Emperor||Hackberry||Tree sap, Rotting fruit, Dung, Carrion|
|Tiger Swallowtail||Black Cherry, Birch, Poplar, Willow||Joe Pye Weed, Buddleia|
|Variegated Fritillary||Violet, Passion Vine||Joe Pye Weed|
|Viceroy||Willow, Poplar, Fruit Trees||Thistle, Beggar-tick, Goldenrod, Milkweed|
|Western Tailed Blue||Clover, Peas||Legumes|
|White Admiral||Birch, Willow, Poplar, Honeysuckle||Aphid Honeydew, Bramble Blossom|
|Zabulon Skipper||Purpletop Grass||Blackberry, Vetch, Milkweed, Buttonbush,Thistle|
|Zebra Longwing||Passion-vine||Verbena, Lantana, Shepard's Needle|
|Zebra Swallowtail||Pawpaw||Dogbane, Joe Pye Weed, Buddleia, Privet, Blueberry|