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Host Plants for Butterflies

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Host Plants for Butterflies

While adult butterflies mainly drink nectar for nourishment, their caterpillars eat plants. Each butterfly lays their eggs on a specific plant, or family of plants, called host plants. Including host plants along with nectar plants will encourage a greater variety and number of butterflies to visit regularly. Use native host plants whenever possible, as these are what caterpillars eat naturally and this will help them grow and be healthy. Many native host plants are considered weeds in more formal gardens, so choose plants that suit your garden style.

TIP: Caterpillars can eat a great deal very quickly. Your host plants may often look ragged and chewed up, so plant them in a section of garden where their appearance won’t matter so much.


Use This Host Plant: For This Butterfly:
Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Queen (Danaus gilippus)
Passionvine (Passiflora spp.) Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
Julia Longwing (Dryas iulia)
Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia)
Cassia (Senna spp.)
Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata)
Orange Barred Sulphur (Phoebis philea)
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
Sleepy Orange (Eurema nicippe)
Citrus including native Wild Lime
Hercules Club
Common Rue (Ruta graevolens)
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Parsley, Fennel, Dill and other members of the parsley family (Apiaceae)
Common Rue (Ruta graevolens)
Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Pipevine (Aristolochia spp.) Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Polydamas Swallowtail (Battus polydamas)
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
Red Bay (Persea borbonia)
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
Red Bay (Persea borbonia) Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes)
Pawpaw (Asimina spp.) Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)
Water hyssop (Bacopa monnieri)
Turkey Tangle Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora)
White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae)
Plaintains (Plantago spp.)
Turkey Tangle Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora)
Carolina Wild Petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis)
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
Turkey Tangle Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon)
False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica)
Florida Pellitory (Parietaria floridana)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Cudweed (Gnaphalium pensylvanicum)
Ironweed (Vernonia spp.)
Wormwood (Artemesia spp.)
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Cabbage, Collards, Mustard Greens
Peppergrass (Lepidium virginicum)
Spider Flower (Cleome hasslerana)
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
Great Southern White (Ascia monuste)
Checkered White (Pontia protodice)
Beans, peas, and other members of the legume family (Fabaceae)
Beggarweeds (Desmodium spp.)
Hairypod Cowpea (Vigna luteola)
Long-Tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)
Dorantes Skipper (Urbanus dorantes)
Canna (Canna spp.) Canna Skipper (Calpodes ethlius)
Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius)

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