Pick the Right Caterpillar Host Plants

Butterflies typically lay their eggs on the plants that their caterpillars feed on. If you want to attract a specific butterfly, provide the food plant or plants that it needs to survive. Caterpillars are always hungry, so don't be surprised when they munch the plant leaves to pieces!

Plant

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Description

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Hardiness Zones

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Butterflies Attracted

Asters

Mounds of purple, pink, red, or white daisylike

(Aster spp.)

blooms; 1 - to 8-foot-tall bushy plants

#

Zones 2 to 8, depending on the species

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Peari and northern crescents

Clovers

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White, red, or pink ball-like flowers; plants

(Trifolium spp.)

range from low creeping forms to 2 feet tall

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Annual, biennial, or perennial, depending on

the species

Clouded sulphurs and acmon blues

Herbs

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Yellow, greenish, or white flat-topped or

(dill, carrots, fennel, and parsley)

ball-like clusters (called umbels); fragrant

feathery foliage for all but parsley, which

has flat or curled leaves

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Annuals or biennials

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Black and anise swallowtails

Hollyhock

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Large white, pink, red, or yellow bowl-shaped

(A/ceo rosea)

blooms; 3- to 6-foot-tall flower stems

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Biennial grown as an annual

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Painted and west coast ladies and common

checkered skippers

Milkweeds

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Clusters of green, orange, yellow, pink, or

(Asclepias spp.)

purple blooms; 1- to 5-foot-taN flower stems

#

Zones 3 to 9

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Monarchs

Wild petunias

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Solitary or loose clusters of trumpet-shaped

(Ruellia spp.)

blooms in red, pink, or blue; 1- to 3-foot-tal!

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perennials

Zone 10

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White peacocks

Snapdragon

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Spikes of tubular 2-lipped flowers in every

(Antirrhinum ma jus)

color but blue; 1- to 4-foot-tall low mounded

or tail spiky plants

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Annual

V Description # Hardiness Zones W Butterflies Attractid

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

Large yellow daisylike blooms; sturdy 2- to 12-foot-tall flower stalks (size depends on the cultivar) Annual

Gorgone checkerspots (these butterflies are found only In and near the Great Plains, so don't expect to attract them elsewhere)

Violets ( Viola spp.)

Blue, violet, white, red, orange, or yellow blooms; 1- to 12-inch-tatl plants Zones 3 to 9, depending on the species Some fritillaries

Cherries (Prunus spp.)

Large group of trees and shrubs, many ornamental and others popular for their stone fruits; clusters of white to pink single or double flowers

Zones 2 to 10, depending on the species Some tiger swallowtails, coral hairstreak, Lorquin's admiral

Citrus

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Evergreen shrubs to small trees, several

(Citrus spp.)

popular for their fruits; white or purple flowers produced singly or in clusters

#

Zones 8 to 10, depending on the species

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Some swallowtails

Oaks

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Large group of deciduous or evergreen trees

(Quereus spp.)

and some shrubs, with acorn fruit; greenish male flowers in drooping catkins, female flowers single or in small spikes at base of leaves, both male and female on same plant

#

Zones 3 to 10, depending on the species

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Some hairstreaks, some duskywings

Willows {Salix spp.)

Willows {Salix spp.)

Large group of shrubs and trees, many grown as ornamentals; tiny yellow or green flowers in catkins, male and female on separate plants Zones 2 to 9, depending on the species Some fritillaries, some swallowtails, some tortoiseshells, some admirals, some halrstreaks, faunus anglewing, viceroy, mourning cloak, red-spotted purple

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