Food Plants

Food and shelter

butterfly gardens

Butterflies rely on a variety of plants for food and shelter throughout their life cycle. As caterpillars, they consume the leaves of specific host plants, while adult butterflies seek nectar from a wider range of flowering plants. The availability and diversity of these plants play a crucial role in butterfly survival and reproduction. 

Host plants

Attracting Butterflies

Butterflies are nectar feeders and any flowering plant can potentially feed a butterfly, the only restriction is the length of the butterflies’ proboscis and the depth of the nectar stored in the flower.

Caterpillars are however very fussy eaters. Caterpillars rely on the female butterfly laying her eggs on an edible plant, we call these host plants or food plants. If a female butterfly does not lay on the correct plant the caterpillars will be unable to eat and starve.

Each species of butterfly has a different host plant, if you know the host plant of a particular butterfly then you can attract that butterfly species into your garden.

Below is a list of the host plants you need to plant in your garden to attract butterflies, remember to also plant plenty of flowering plants as well to keep the adult butterflies well fed.

What plant species you need to grow to attract specific butterflies