Top 10 Butterfly Host Plants

Ready to take butterfly gardening to the next level? Plant butterfly host plants to give caterpillars a place to grow!

Nectar plants give butterfly gardens a powerful boost. But they’re not the only key to drawing pretty pollinators to your yard. As your favorite winged beauties transition through their life cycle, many lay eggs on the undersides of specific plants—hosts. Many people know monarchs need milkweed, but there are many other butterfly host plants you should consider adding to your garden. By incorporating some of these, you’ll attract a wider variety of butterflies to your backyard. And now they just might stick around!

Willow (Salix), Zones 2 to 9

Salix, Zones 2 to 9 It’s true! Caterpillars feed on trees as well as pretty garden plants. Willows are known to grow up to 100 feet depending on species. So most gardeners will want smaller willows, like Dappled or Flame willow, which are a better size for backyard landscapes. Willow trees prefer full sun and tolerate many soil types.

Butterfly benefits: Several caterpillars like to munch on willow trees, including viceroy, western tiger swallowtail and mourning cloak.

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