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Butterfly Garden

Butterflies, moths, and skippers are some of the most beautiful of all insects. Their striking appearance adds both color and activity to the most pleasing of landscapes. They may be observed more easily and closely than other species of wildlife. Moths expand the enjoyment time of your garden because they are active primarily during the night, while butterflies and skippers are active during the day.

Butterflies, moths, and skippers belong to the Lepidoptera Order and are instrumental in pollinating plants; some specific to a single plant species. Lepidopteron should be conserved and managed as they are an essential component of both the animal food chain and the reproductive process of plants.

Basic Needs of the Butterfly and Larvae

Sun: Locate garden in a sunny spot that is sheltered from the wind. This helps to warm the butterflies. A butterfly's body temperature needs to be above 86° before they can fly.

Plants on Which to Lay Eggs

Called host plants, these plants are eaten by the caterpillars after the eggs hatch. Host plants include trees, shrubs, vines, perennials and annuals. Each type of butterfly eats specific host plants.


Eastern Swallowtail: parsley, dill, fennel

Eastern Swallowtail Bullerfly Swallowtail Caterpillar


Monarch: Butterfly Milkweed

Gulf Fritillary: Passion Flower

Nectar Plants

Adult butterflies use nectar from specific flowers as an energy source. Not all flowers are attractive to butterflies. Adult butterflies like nectar plants in groups of color at different levels, it's easier for butterflies to key in on.

  • Butterfly Weed – Asclepias tuberosa
  • Honeysuckle Vine – ‘John Clayton’
  • Purple Cone Flower – Echinacea purpurea
  • Lantana – Lantana camara
  • Goldenrods – Solidago spp.
  • Asters - Aster spp.
  • Pentas – Pentas lanceolata
  • Glossy Abelia – Abelia x grandiflora
  • Blazing Star – Liatris spp.
  • Bee Balm – Monarda spp.
  • Rudbeckia – ‘Goldstrum’

No Pesticides

Pesticides can kill caterpillars and butterflies. Identify the source of the plant problem before using chemicals. Non-chemical methods are available to combat most common plant pests.

Learn More about Butterflies