Project Short Description
A good butterfly garden includes both flowers for the butterflies to extract nectar from and host plants for the caterpillars to eat. Host plants include everlasting for the Vanessa butterflies, lupine for the Sulphurs and Silvery Blues, spirea for Spring Azures, violets for Fritillaries.
Perennials are usually better than annuals. Some of the most successful are phlox, Anthemis, black eyed Susan, Monarda, Centaurea, Joe Pye weed and most mints.
The big yellow and black Tiger Swallowtail likes to nectar on blackberry blossoms but most people don’t want blackberries in their gardens; Hesperis matronalis (sweet rocket) is a good substitute and other species of butterflies enjoy it as well.
Some of the host plants on which butterflies lay eggs, such as hops, plantain, stinging nettle and burdock are considered invasive weeds. However, if you really like butterflies you may want to grow some of these at the back of your garden.
Most culinary herbs are attractive to butterflies and they take nectar from chives, oregano, rosemary, feverfew, etc. The large Black Swallowtail found in the Montréal area is called “Persil” (parsley) because it lays eggs on parsley.
All the native plants that butterflies use also have traditional medicinal uses. Butterflies also take nectar from the plants we use to dye textiles.