Butterfly season can be very inspiring to budding and seasoned gardeners alike. How do you attract these and other delicate creatures to your garden? We all know that adult butterflies feed on nectar, and adding nectar plants to your garden is usually the first step to attracting butterflies, but it should not be the only one. Your garden also needs host plants. 


What are host plants, and how do they work? Very simply, host plants are the plants on which a butterfly lays its eggs and that caterpillars use as a food source. Like many young ones, these fledgling creatures can be very picky about what they eat. Specific species of butterflies or moths have developed a host relationship with specific plant species – in some cases with only one species – and the caterpillars need those particular plants in order to survive.


The host plant of the Monarch butterfly is milkweed. But there are practically as many host plants as there are winged creatures. If you are looking to attract a particular butterfly species, it’s easy to find out which plants are the hosts for these particular butterflies. To learn more, visit our Resources (there will be a link inserted here) section.


Host plants are a crucial part of the butterfly life cycle. Add them to your garden alongside nectar plants and enjoy the many visitors they will attract!

October 20, 2018 — Agnieszka Hurst

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