How to Attract Certain Butterfly Species

| July/August 2008

With the right host plants to feast on, they will come. Butterflies can be fairly picky when it comes to the larval host plants that voracious caterpillars enjoy chomping. “Usually it’s important to have the right host plant in your garden if you’re trying to attract a particular butterfly species,” says Tim Pollak, butterfly gardening expert at the Chicago Botanic Garden. According to the Butterfly House and Monarch Watch, these butterflies prefer to lay their eggs on the following host plants (host species may not be shown):  

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) – Senna (Cassia spp.)

Monarch (Danaus plexippus) – Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) – Thistles (Cirsium spp.)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) – Nettles (Urtica spp.)  

Red-spotted purple (Limenitis arthemis) – Willows (Salix spp.)

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) – Willows (Salix spp.)

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