Friday, March 6, 2009

Which Came First, the Caterpillar or the Butterfly?

Butterfly gardening can be extremely rewarding. Watching these beauties flutter about from flower to flower, breeze to breeze... There are two types of plants that butterflies need in order to survive, nectar plants and host plants. If you have both in your garden, you will be able to witness the entire life cycle of the fabulous flittering Lepidoptera.

Nectar Plants
Nectar plants are what most people think of when designing a butterfly garden. They provide the food needed for sustenance. Some common nectar plants are:

Cosmos available at Seven Acre Woods on

Some other great nectar plants for your butterfly garden include Aster, Blazing Stars, Common Milkweed, Coreopsis, Lantana, Marigold, Shasta Daisys, Sunflowers, and Zinnia.

Host Plants
Less common but as equally important are host plants. Butterflies use these for reproduction, meaning depositing eggs and feeding larvae (caterpillars). Some familiar host plants are:

Hollyhocks available at A Better Place on

Dill available at Homegrown Healthy on

Other common host plants for your butterfly garden include the Common Foxglove, Nasturtium, Milkweed, False Nettle, Rue, Silver Brocade, Snapdragon, Sunflower, Violet, Fennel, Spicebush, Passion Flower, Pipevine, Pawpaw and Sweet Bay Magnolias.

Both Nectar & Host Plants
If you don't have much space for a butterfly garden, it makes sense to use dual-purpose plants. Here are a few that serve as both nectar and host plants for your fluttering beauties:

Swamp Verbena, or Simpler's Joy, available at Infinite Gardens on

Purple Coneflower available at A Better Place on


Susan Faye said...

So happy to have found this blog--I did not know that I could find plants and seeds on Etsy! Can't wait to do some shopping...

Caly's Jewelry Creations said...

I didn't know either...! What a great resource..! Very informative post...!

Katie said...

I've been posting on my blog and making treasuries with Etsy's plants and seeds. Etsy has a fabulous mix of plants and seeds!