Photo: Vicki’s Nature (flickr)
If you want to have lots of adult butterflies in your garden, remember that you will have more of them if you plant things their caterpillars like to eat.
However, you will have to put up with chewed leaves in your yard. The eastern black swallowtail butterfly’s caterpillar, for instance, eats plants that are members of the carrot family, which includes parsley and Queen Anne’s lace. Fortunately these plants have ferny foliage so they don’t look as ragged when the caterpillars chew on the leaves as plants with broad leaves do.
Adult butterflies linger in our gardens longer, also, when we have the types of plants on which they can lay their eggs.
Caterpillars also like flowering plants such as lupine, hollyhock, mallow, dill, fennel and milkweed. Be careful of using pesticides of any kind if you are eager to have caterpillars and butterflies visit your garden.
Adult swallowtail butterflies love the nectar from flowers such as thistle, phlox and clover.
To plant a garden full of flowers that appeal to different types of butterflies, you can plant shrubs as well as perennials and annuals. Our native spicebush, buttonbush and buckeye are excellent choices.