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!

Oak (Quercus), Zones 3 to 10

You may know oak trees by the fantastic orange, red and yellow color show they put on every autumn. Mature oaks can reach up to 100 feet high, but you can find smaller varieties, such as pin oak, that grow to about 75 feet—still quite large. So keep in mind that even smaller varieties need plenty of space to grow and flourish.

Butterfly benefits: Young oak leaves are favorites of the caterpillars of Horace’s duskywing and banded hairstreak.

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