Butterflies are beautiful pollinators that you can attract to your home with a few simple steps. Not only are you helping to support a necessary population of pollinators, but with some easy tips, you can encourage these beautiful pollinators to call your yard their home, allowing you to enjoy their presence throughout the spring and summer seasons.
Butterflies depend on environmental conditions for warmth and are usually active between 60°-105°. Their body temperature must be greater than 75° for them to fly.
Planning your Perfect Pollinator-Friendly Garden
Tips for ensuring the best conditions for your garden to attract happy pollinators
- Choose a sunny location when planning your butterfly garden.
- Choose an area that is sheltered from harsh winds
- Avoid planting near bird feeders and birdhouses
- Minimize, or if possible eliminate, the use of pesticides and herbicides.
- If possible, establish a natural shelter to provide protection from rain
- When possible, plant in groupings with various pollinator-friendly plants, as butterflies are more likely to see and become attracted to masses of color.
- Plant for a succession of flowers to ensure blooming plants all season long. Not only is this aesthetically pleasing, but it will also ensure that your garden can provide butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators with a continuous food source from spring up until fall.
After you have chosen the perfect location for your garden, it is time to pick the plants for your butterfly garden. To ensure the butterfly finds your garden and hangs around, you want to plant both caterpillar host plants and butterfly nectar plants. In doing so, you will ensure that the butterfly has what it needs to eat during its life cycle. Below is a list of host plants for different butterflies.
Butterfly Life Cycle
› Chrysalis (Pupa) Cocoon
› Adult form
Caterpillar Host Plants
Tiger Swallowtail: Wild cherry, Tulip Tree, Willows, Sweet bay, Linden
Black Swallowtail: Parsley, Fennel, Dill, Queen Anne’s Lace
Spicebush Swallowtail: Spicebush, Sassafras
Pipevine Swallowtail: Pipevine
Giant Swallowtail: Rue
Zebra Swallowtail: Pawpaw
Red Spotted Purple: Black Cherries, Aspen
Red Admiral, Comma, Question Mark: Hops, Nettles
Baltimore Checkerspot: White turtlehead, Plantains
American Lady: Anaphalis, Antennaria
Painted Lady: Echinops, Borage, Malva
Mourning Cloak: Willows, Birches
Luna Moth: Walnut, Beech, Maple, Willow, Cherry
Butterfly Nectar Plants
› Queen Anne’s Lace
› Bee Balm (Monarda)
› Black-Eyed Susan
› Holly Hock
› Joe Pye Weed
Shrubs and Vines
› Blackberries, Raspberries
› Butterfly Bush
› Button Bush
› Trumpet Honeysuckle