By Ramon Gonzalez, TreeHugger
Planting your garden with plants that attract butterflies is only one step in making your garden butterfly-friendly. Once butterflies discover your garden the females will lay eggs on plants that become food for the hatching caterpillars.
The host plant selected, and the time of year the eggs are laid, depends on the species of butterfly. Different butterflies prefer different host plants.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution if your aim is to entice a diverse selection of butterflies into your garden.
To get a better understanding of the diversity needed I turned to author and garden blogger Benjamin Vogt. Benjamin runs a native plant gardening consulting company near Lincoln, Nebraska, and is one of the most passionate advocates of native plants that I know online.
Below are his suggestions for creating an environment that encourages butterflies to complete their life cycle in our gardens.
Host Plants for Butterflies
Monarchs like to feed on common plants like milkweed, while other species are ferocious eaters of many of our favorite garden herbs. Fennel, parsley, and dill make good hosts for Black Swallowtails. Some sulfur butterflies are hosted by Baptisia.
Trees and Shrubs That Host Butterflies
Often overlooked when speaking about butterfly hosts are trees and shrubs, but they are just as important as the plants listed above. According to Benjamin, oaks, willows, chokecherries, and elms are great butterfly larvae host trees.
Next: the most important rule for butterfly gardening