Want Butterflies? You Need Host Plants!

Updated: Jun 6

Everybody wants a butterfly garden to see these magnificent creatures flitting from flower to flower. Unfortunately, the most important part is usually overlooked, the host plants. Host plants are specific plants that feed the larval stage of the lovely butterfly. Here’s a short list of host plants and the larvae they are hosting.


Acer rubrum (Red Maple) - Cecropia Moth


Actaea racemosa - Black Cohosh - Spring Azure


Apios americanus (American Groundnut) - Silver-spotted Skipper


Aquilegia canadensis (Wild Columbine) - Columbine Duskywing


Amorpha canescens (Lead Plant) - Dogface sulfur, Gray Hairstreak


Andropogon gerardii (Big Bluestem) - Delaware Skipper, Dusted Skipper, Cobweb Skipper


Aristolochia durior (Dutchman’s Pipe) - Pipevine swallowtail


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry) - Hoary Elfin, Brown Elfin


Aronia arbutifolia (Red Chokeberry) - Coral Hairstreak


Aruncus dioicus (Goat’s Beard) - Dusky Azure


Asarum canadense (Wild Ginger) : Pipevine swallowtail


Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed), Asclepias incarnata ssp pulchra (Showy Swamp Milkweed), Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed), Asclepias exaltata (Poke Milkweed), Asclepias verticillata (Whorled Milkweed), Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed), Asclepias curassavica (Tropical Milkweed) - Monarch, Queen


Asimina triloba (Paw Paw) - Zebra swallowtail, Pawpaw Sphinx


Aster laeve (Smooth Aster) - Pearl Crescent


Aster novae angliae (New England Aster) - Pearl Crescent, Checkerspot


Aster novae belgii (New York Aster) - Pearl Crescent


Aster umbellatus (Flat-topped Aster) - Pearl Crescent, Harris’ Checkerspot


Baptisia australis (False Indigo) - Wild Indigo Duskywing, Eastern Tailed-Blue, Orange Sulphur, Clouded Sulphur, Frosted Elfin, and Hoary Edge


Baptisia tinctora (Wild Indigo) - Frosted Elfin, Wild Indigo Duskywing


Betula papyrifera (White Birch) - Luna Moth


Betula populifolia (Gray Birch) - Easter Tiger Swallowtail


Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats Grama) - Green Skipper, Sheep Skipper, Dotted Skipper, Orange Skipperling


Callicarpa americana (American Beautybush) - Spring Azure, Snowberry Clearwing Moth


Callirhoe involucrata (Poppy Mallow) - Gray Hairstreak


Campsis radicans (Trumpet Vine) - Trumpet Vine Sphinx Moth


Carex stricta (Tussock Sedge) - Mulberry Wing, Eyed Brown, Black Dash