Click on the cute caterpillar with binoculars to go to
Monarch Watch and learn all about these butterflies!
Each species of butterfly lays its eggs
on particular plants.  The caterpillars
starve to death rather than to eat
any other plants than the ones they are
designed to eat.  So, if you are serious
about attracting more varieties of
butterflies to your garden, you need to
consider the
host plants that the
butterflies seek out to lay their eggs on.

Zebra Swallowtail - paw paw tree
Black Swallowtail - fennel, carrots, parsley
Giant Swallowtail - citrus tree, prickly ash tree
Pipevine Swallowtail - Dutchman's pipevine
Tiger Swallowtail - tulip poplar, wild cherry tree
Spicebush Swallowtail - spicebush, sassafras tree
Monarch - milkweed
Painted Lady - hollyhocks and thistle
Red Admiral - false nettles
Question Mark & Comma - hop vines, elm tree
Silvery Checkerspot - purple coneflowers
Sulphur butterfly - white clover and legumes
Cabbage white - nasturtium, spider flowers(Cleome)
Pearl Crescent - asters
Variegated & Gulf Fritillary - passion vines
Great Spangled Fritillary - violets

Did you know that butterflies can use the "weeds" that grow naturally in your lawn?  
But, only if you have a
chemical-free lawn.

Fritillary butterflies lay their eggs on wild violets.
Buckeyes lay their eggs on narrow-leaf plantain.
Sulphur butterflies lay their eggs on the leaves of white clover.
Some skippers lay their eggs on blades of grass.
Many small butterflies get nectar from dandelion flowers.

What about mowing the lawn?

Some caterpillars tend to come out at night to eat, and stay hidden during the day at the base of their host plant.  Hopefully
your  lawn mower blades are high enough to miss any caterpillars taking a nap under the plants.  A lawn full of pretty violets,
white clover blossoms and bright yellow dandelions looks very attractive to a butterfly!
Pipevine swallowtail eggs
Question Mark butterfly
Eastern Black Swallowtail chrysalis and caterpillar
Monarch caterpillar preparing to pupate
Monarch chrysalis moments
before the butterfly emerges
Monarch butterfly
Butterfly   Gardening   Tips
Whenever possible, it is best to use host and nectar plants that are native to your part of the country.  After all,
these are the plants that will perform the best in your weather conditions and provide the food that the native
butterflies and their caterpillars are used to eating.
If you plant a variety of nectar-producing flowers that bloom at different times, your garden will have lovely
color throughout the growing season.  
Since many host plants (used by butterflies to lay their eggs on) are "weeds", shrubs or is best to
include a good mix of blooming flowers (nectar plants) to keep your garden looking attractive to both you and
the visiting butterflies, bees, moths and hummingbirds.
Nectar-producing flowers are like gas stations for hungry butterflies.  They provide vibrant color to your garden and
attract the butterflies as they pass through your neighborhood to "fuel up" on nectar.
Host plants are the destination point for pregnant female butterflies looking to lay their eggs on plants that the baby
caterpillars will eat.
Caterpillars are very sensitive to any kind of chemical
on the plants that they eat.  It is very important to not
use any pesticides or other types of poison in your
butterfly garden.  We buy our plants from nurseries
that do not use chemicals on their plants.
This includes organic Bt since this
targets and kills all caterpillars!
* * * * * * * * * Wash your hands * * * * * * * * *
Caterpillars aren't the only ones that are sensitive to chemicals.  We are too!  After touching any
kind of plants in your garden, it is
very important that you wash your hands.  Many plants contain
natural compounds in their sap or on their leaves that can cause irritation to your skin or mucous
membranes (mouth, nose and
especially eyes).  Examples of these plants include milkweed, rue
herb, Dutchman's pipevine, tomato plants and many others.
 Attention parents and teachers...
be sure to teach children to wash their hands after touching insects and plants.  Some
people are more sensitive (
or worse yet, allergic) to certain naturally-occuring compounds.  There
have been some documented cases of severe reactions to the sap found in milkweed plants when a
person touches the sticky leaves and then rubs their eyes or inserts contact lenses without washing
their hands carefully!  Gardening and raising butterflies can be a very rewarding experience.  But
please, always use reasonable caution whenever you or your children handle these natural wonders.
Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar
newly hatched and eating its eggshell
Black Swallowtail
Red Admiral
False Nettles
Question Mark
Hop Vines
Red-spotted Purple
and Viceroy
Tiger Swallowtail
Sweet bay magnolia
Silvery Checkerspot
Purple Coneflowers
Giant Swallowtail
Prickly Ash
Pipevine Swallowtail
Dutchman's Pipevine
Zebra Swallowtail
Paw Paw tree
Spicebush Swallowtail
Cabbage white butterfly
Spider flowers
Check out this link to Journey North:
"The Life Cycles of Butterflies"
by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards
We recommend buying plants from :
Caterpillar host plants = food for butterfly babies