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!





Hardiness Zones


Butterflies Attracted


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


Peari and northern crescents



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

(Trifolium spp.)

range from low creeping forms to 2 feet tall


Annual, biennial, or perennial, depending on

the species

Clouded sulphurs and acmon blues



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


Annuals or biennials


Black and anise swallowtails



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

(A/ceo rosea)

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


Biennial grown as an annual


Painted and west coast ladies and common

checkered skippers



Clusters of green, orange, yellow, pink, or

(Asclepias spp.)

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


Zones 3 to 9



Wild petunias


Solitary or loose clusters of trumpet-shaped

(Ruellia spp.)

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



Zone 10


White peacocks



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



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



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


Some swallowtails



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


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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