What do butterflies eat?
Many people ask ‘what do butterflies eat?’. The answer is nectar, primarily from nectar plants. Of the two types of plants you’ll need to attract butterflies to your garden, nectar plants usually get top billing. And why not? They add color, style and beauty to your garden while providing the food most butterflies and other wildlife need to sustain life.
For butterflies, presentation is everything so grouping the same nectar plants together will help butterflies see your scrumptious offering from a distance.
Some nectar plants have the reputation of being favorites to a wide variety of butterflies – plants such as Coneflower, Butterfly Bush, Tall Verbena and Lantana, to name a few. Avoid plants considered to be ‘invasive’ in your area. When in doubt ask your local garden center for advice.
Whenever possible plant nectar plants that are native to your area. They not only require less maintenance than non-natives but they bring a welcome variety to your gardens. Check with your local garden organizations for a list of the native plants in your area and be sure to to check the USDA Hardiness Zone map to see what plants will grow in your area.
Finally, remember to extend your garden ‘menu’ with your favorite butterflies’ host plants (food for caterpillars).