Host Plants for Butterflies & Moths
NEW! We've added a new Host Plants category to our website.
Native plants are tied to the lifecycles of numerous butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera). Important not only for their nectar, natives often play the role of "larval host plant." Some Lepidoptera deposit their eggs on one plant species, to the exclusion of others, as is the case with Monarch butterflies and milkweed plants (Asclepias sp.). Other butterflies might be less exclusive when it comes to which plants will host their caterpillars, but they do have preferences.
Caterpillar Friendly Gardening
Last year's leaves, grasses and "yard waste" play an important role in the bio-community of the garden and landscape. Many butterflies and moths over-winter in fallen leaves and spent plant material from the previous season. A light-handed approach to “cleaning up” the garden allows more butterflies and moths to thrive. Avoid raking the ground clean around shrubs, trees, and garden beds, as it can destroy the hibernation environment for the very life that you are trying to support. An article on our blog covers this topic in more detail: Meaningful Maintenance: Fall Clean-up with Positive Impact.