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!

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Zones 4 to 9

This easygoing and versatile grass is a good choice for wet conditions, drought or partial shade, as long as it’s planted in moist, well-draining soil. Growing narrow and upright with a cloud of seed heads in fall, switchgrass can reach more than 5 feet tall. Birds enjoy the seeds while the green leaves turn to yellow in fall.

Butterfly benefits: Many skipper caterpillars need grasses like switchgrass as a food source. These same caterpillars might overwinter on or underneath the blades of grass.

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