Butterfly Garden Host and Nectar Plants

Attracting butterflies to your butterfly garden is as simple as serving their favorite foods! Our hard work makes us smile as the butterflies arrive, more butterflies arrive with each day. This year we added more nectar plants like the Coreopsis and Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa). The native Kansas Butterflyweed seedlings have been planted. The number of butterflies dining at the Lepidoptera Buffet is contingent upon the food source. In this instance, more is better!

Blue Pincushion Flower and Butterfly

Nectar Plant for Butterfly Habitat

Caterpillar on host food

Butterflies need the right host food

Milkweed plants are the primary food source for the Monarch Butterfly. This year, our priority is to introduce a greater variety of host plants (milkweed) into our field. We hope to attract the magnificent Monarch butterflies as they travel through Kansas along their yearly migration route.

Monarch on Coneflower

Monarch Butterfly drinks from the native nectar plant, a Pink Coneflower

The Monarch Watch Open House and Plant Sale is a yearly event held at Foley Hall on the West campus of the University of Kansas, mark your calendars. This sale is the perfect place to gather the plants to establish a great habitat or butterfly garden from containers to acres!

Orange Marigold Flower and Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Tiger Swallowtail Drinking Nectar From a Marigold Flower

Our long established Rue plants attract Swallowtails. This year, our past planting efforts were richly rewarded with the arrival of Tiger Swallowtails and Black Swallowtails. Out in the field, a Monarch found the red clover. The numerous Sulphurs love the Pincushion Flower!

Rue is a Butterfly Host Plant

A perfect Swallowtail Butterfly host plant, Rue is caterpillar food.

Walking in the garden, a shadow passed over me. Following the movement, I found this lovely Tiger Swallowtail in a nearby tree which offered good place to rest with protection from the strong wind.

Swallowtail at rest in a tree

A Yellow and Black Tiger Swallowtail rests in a tree

What do the butterflies like to eat? Here is an excellent downloadable PDF reference guide that explains which plants to feed the different butterflies. By providing a safe and sustainable food source, we help ensure the survival rate of these fragile and very important creatures!

Scabiosa attracts butterflies

Scabiosa, often called the Blue Pincushion Flower, attract many butterflies!

Creating a Butterfly Habitat

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Author: Kathleen Hird Kostner and Ricardo Kostner
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