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Old 02-16-2010, 09:44 AM   #21
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I have a question - I started a butterfly garden about a year ago. Because I do not have unlimited space at this point, what would you consider to be the 'cornerstone' plants for such a garden?

I feel as if I have a decent selection of nectar plants (Liatris, Echinacea, Asclepias, Rudbeckia, Pycnanthemum, Eupatorium) etc.

I got into hosts late, but I do have Viburnum, Lindera, Asclepias and a few others.

What are the 'well, you *have to have* this' species? What provides the most proverbial 'bang for the buck'? I have a small area available for expansion and am curious as to your thoughts.

Thanks.
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:22 PM   #22
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You've already got one of the host plants that I would consider a cornerstone - the Asclepias. You've also got a great combination for the Monarchs; I don't know of any nectar plant that the monarchs like more than Liatris ligulistylis.

You've also got several species covered with your shrubs and trees. One other shrub that is a host plant for many butterflies are the Salix species. If you like any of the native willows I would consider adding one of those.

The fritillaries are easily accommodated by any of the native violets. The violets give you lots of different butterflies for just one species of plant. Some violets will do well in shade, so that gives you and opportunity to 'extend' your butterfly garden into shady areas.

One of the Baptisia would provide a host plant for those species that need legumes (Fabaceae) for host plants. These are colorful, attractive plants that would fit well even into more formal gardens. Baptisia australis is a long lived blue flowered plant with interesting foliage that is also a favorite nectar source for the skippers.

Speaking of skippers, many of these use grasses for host plants. Consider choosing one of the native prairie grasses for your butterfly garden. They can add another dimension to your butterfly garden from an aesthetic point of view, as well as serve as host plants. They can also help keep some of the forbs from flopping over.

One more plant that I almost always recommend for a butterfly garden is one of the Zizia species (Golden Alexanders). My particular favorite is Zizia aurea. It's a host plant for the black swallowtail. Now you will see a lot of butterfly gardeners recommending dill, parsley, or fennel for this butterfly. But I have to confess right up front that I tend to look at what's best for the butterflies (rather than people) when I think about a butterfly garden. Black swallowtails have two generations in my area (possibly three in your area). Dill, parsley and fennel just cannot be counted on to cover all of the generations. Zizia can be counted on to provide each generation of caterpillars with a good food supply. I happen to think that the Golden Alexander is an attractive plant, but as you know beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:46 AM   #23
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Good stuff - thanks for the reply.

I do have a Viola - Walter's violet. You can find it growing in lawns around here if you look hard enough and a co-worker has more of it growing in her yard than grass so I took some.

I'll look to try and acquire a few of the others you have pointed out this season. Thanks again for taking the time.

It occurs to me that I may have the legume as well - I planted quite a few wild senna last season . . .
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Old 04-12-2012, 01:49 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWisc View Post
My particular favorite is Zizia aurea. It's a host plant for the black swallowtail. Now you will see a lot of butterfly gardeners recommending dill, parsley, or fennel for this butterfly. But I have to confess right up front that I tend to look at what's best for the butterflies (rather than people) when I think about a butterfly garden. Black swallowtails have two generations in my area (possibly three in your area). Dill, parsley and fennel just cannot be counted on to cover all of the generations. Zizia can be counted on to provide each generation of caterpillars with a good food supply. I happen to think that the Golden Alexander is an attractive plant, but as you know beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
That's a good point, I'd hate to lose caterpillars because they couldn't find enough to eat.
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Old 04-17-2012, 02:04 PM   #25
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OMG I love this!!!! I have so many of the plants already and didn't even know it Thanks so much for all your hard work!!
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:34 AM   #26
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What a great source of information! I'm planning a butterfly garden in a sunny part of my yard, and would love to add violets but I'm not sure which if any will do well in full sun. Can someone recommend one?
I'm hoping to go shopping this week.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:03 AM   #27
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Most of the native blue/purple violets will do well in the sun. I'd shy away from the white or yellow violets unless you know for sure that they will be ok in the sun. With the blue/purple violets it would be more important to match the soil moisture level with the plant's requirements.

The fritillaries over winter as tiny caterpillars so it is important to leave the area around the base of the plants undisturbed.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:12 PM   #28
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Thank you NEWisc for the spectacular information!! I'm gonna try birdfoot violet since it's a pretty dry sandy soil. And now I have a good reason to not clean up the garden!
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:26 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWisc View Post
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Caterpillar hosts: Prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) and Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)
Hoptree has proven to be my favorite addition to my yard. I had never even seen a giant swallowtail in central Ohio before I put in my tree. Now, they leave me eggs multiple times a year. Funny thing is, I still don't see the butterflies except for the ones I raise. They lay their eggs and are GONE. My son has spotted them a few times and did alert me last year so I could watch some eggs get laid.

Tiger swallowtails also use hoptree and I've been lucky enough to find TST eggs on my hoptree once.

If you look up hoptree, you may notice that it is also called wafer ash. This because of how the leaves look. It is not an ash tree so no need to worry about emerald ash borers bothering it. Hoptree is a citrus tree.

I've added a couple more potted hoptrees and the GSTs leave eggs on them too. The potted trees keep their leaves longer in the fall. That has proven useful since the GSTs have left me eggs very late in the season.
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:16 PM   #30
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I am bumping this! What a great resource.

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Native Host Plants for a Midwest Butterfly Garden

Part 1



Matching up the native host plants with the butterflies in your area is often the most difficult part of planning a butterfly garden. The following information is a result of my efforts to design a butterfly garden for my area. I have added some butterflies and host plants that are not native to my area in order to make the list useful to more people. The original list was limited to those species of butterflies that I have seen/photographed in my yard. If these butterflies are in your area, and you provide nectar plants and the appropriate host plants, you should be able to attract these butterflies to your yard.


The list of butterflies in your state can be found here:
Map Search | Butterflies and Moths of North America

You can check to see if a plant is native to your state here:
Welcome to the PLANTS Database | USDA PLANTS


Butterflies and their native host plants

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Pipevines (Aristolochia macrophylla, Aristolochia serpentaria and Aristolochia tomentosa)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Alexanders - Heart-leaved golden alexander (Zizia aptera), Golden alexander (Zizia aurea), Yellow pimpernel (Taenidia integerrima), Sweet cicely (Osmorhiza claytonii), Rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) and Angelica (Angelica atropurpurea)

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis)
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Leaves of various plants including Wild cherry (Prunus species), Birch (Betula species), Aspen (Populus species), and possibly American mountain ash (Sorbus americana) and Showy mountain ash (Sorbus decora)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Wild cherry (Prunus species), Magnolia or Cucumber tree (Magnolia species), Basswood (Tilia americana), Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), Birch (Betula species), Ash (Fraxinus species), Cottonwood (Populus species), American mountain ash (Sorbus americana), and Willow (Salix species).

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) and Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) and Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)

Mustard White (Pieris napi)
Mustard White — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Rock Cress (Arabis species), Spring Cress (Cardamine species), Toothwort (Cardamine or Dentaria species)

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Milk vetch (Astragalus species), Wild indigo (Baptisia species), Wild senna (Senna marilandica and S. hebecarpa), Wild lupine (Lupinus perennis), and American vetch (Vicia americana)

Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Milk vetch (Astragalus species), Wild indigo (Baptisia species), Wild senna (Senna marilandica and S. hebecarpa), Wild lupine (Lupinus perennis), and American vetch (Vicia americana)

Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Wild cherry (Prunus species), American plum (Prunus americana), Canadian plum (Prunus nigra) and Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)

Edwards’ Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Oaks (Quercus species)

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Legumes (Fabaceae) including Wild Lupines (Lupinus perennis), American and Carolina Vetch (Vicia americana and V. Caroliniana), Beach Pea (Lathyrus japonicus), White Pea (Lathyrus ochroleucus), Marsh Pea (Lathyrus palustris), Veiny Pea (Lathyrus venosus), and Tick Trefoils (Desmodium canadense, D. glutinosum, D. illinoense, D. nudiflorum) note: caterpillars overwinter in the seed pods

Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) (rare, endangered)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Wild lupine (Lupinus perennis)

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Flowers of Dogwoods (Cornus spp.), Viburnums (Viburnum spp.), New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus spp.), Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), Meadowsweet (Spiraea alba) and Steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa)

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Milkweeds including Common milkweed (Asclepius syriaca), Swamp milkweed (A. incarnata), Poke milkweed (A. exaltata), Purple milkweed (A. purpurascens), Butterfly milkweed (A. Tuberosa), Prairie milkweed (Asclepias hirtella), Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) and Short green milkweed(A. viridiflora)

Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: A variety of plants in several families including Maypops (Passiflora incarnata), Mayapple (Podophyllum peltata) and Violets (Viola species)

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Various Violet species (Viola species)

Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Various violet species including Northern downy violet (Viola sagittata) and Lance-leaved violet (V. lanceolata)

Atlantis Fritillary (Speyeria atlantis)
Atlantis Fritillary — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Violets (Viola species)

Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene)
Silver-bordered Fritillary — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Violets including Northern bog violet (Viola nephrophylla)

Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona)
Meadow Fritillary — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Violets including Northern white violet (Viola pallens) and Woolly blue violet (V. sororia)

Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Many different composites including Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia species), and Sunflowers (Helianthus species)

Harris' Checkerspot (Chlosyne harrisii)
Harris' Checkerspot — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Flat-topped white aster (Aster umbellatus)

Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta)
Northern Crescent — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Asters (Asteraceae)

Baltimore (Euphydryas phaeton)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Plants where eggs are laid and that caterpillars eat before hibernating are Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), Hairy beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus) and False foxglove (Aureolaria species). After overwintering, caterpillars may continue to use these plants, but may also wander and feed on unrelated plants including Arrowwood (Viburnum recognitum), Canadian lousewort or Wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis), and White ash (Fraxinus americana)

Gray Comma (Polygonia progne)
Gray Comma — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: American Black Currant (Ribes americanum), Skunk Currant (Ribes glandulosum), Canadian Black Currant (Ribes hudsonianum), Bristly Black Currant (Ribes lacustre), Swamp Red Currant (Ribes triste), Prickly Wild Gooseberry (Ribes cynosbati), Hairy Stem Gooseberry (Ribes hirtellum), Missouri Gooseberry (Ribes missouriense), and Canadian Gooseberry (Ribes oxyacanthoides)

Compton Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis vaualbum)
Compton Tortoiseshell — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Aspen and Cottonwood (Populus species), Willows (Salix species) and Paper birch or White birch (Betula papyrifera)

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Willows including Black willow (Salix nigra), and Silky willow (S. sericea); also American elm (Ulmus americana), Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), Aspen (P. tremuloides), Paper birch (Betula papyrifera), and Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti)
Milbert's Tortoiseshell — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Nettles (Urtica dioica and U. procera)

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
American Lady — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Plants in the sunflower family: Sweet everlasting (Gnaphalium obtusifolium), Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), Plantain-leaved pussy toes (Antennaria plantaginifolia), and Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata)

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: More than 100 host plants have been noted; favorites include Prairie thistle (Cirsium discolor) and Swamp thistle (Cirsium muticum). Others include Asters (Aster species), Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), Joe pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum), Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), Sunflowers (Helianthus species), Liatris (Liatris species), Black eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta and R. Subtomentosa), Cup plant and Compass plant (Silphium species), Goldenrods (Solidago species), Milk vetch (Astragalus species), Prairie clover (Dalea species or Petalostemon species), and Wild lupine (Lupinus perennis)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Red Admiral — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Plants of the nettle family (Urticaceae) including Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), Tall wild nettle (U. gracilis), Wood nettle (Laportea canadensis), False nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Blue toadflax (Linaria canadensis), American plantain, Black seeded plantain or Red stalked plantain (Plantago rugelii), Wild petunia ( Ruellia humilis), Blue vervain (Verbena hastata), Hoary vervain (Verbena stricta) and False foxgloves (Agalinis species or Gerardia species)

Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Leaves of many species of trees and shrubs including Wild cherry (Prunus species), Aspen and Cottonwood (Populus species), Oaks (Quercus species), Hawthorn (Crataegus species), Birch (Betula species), Willows (Salix species), Basswood (Tilia americana), and Shadbush or Serviceberry (Amelanchier species)

White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Leaves of many species of trees and shrubs including Wild cherry (Prunus species), Aspen and Cottonwood (Populus species), Oaks (Quercus species), Hawthorn (Crataegus species), Birch (Betula species), Willows (Salix species), Basswood (Tilia americana), and Shadbush or Serviceberry (Amelanchier species)

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
Additional Images | Butterflies and Moths of North America
Caterpillar hosts: Trees in the willow family (Salicaceae) including Willows (Salix species), and Poplars and Cottonwoods (Populus species)

Northern Pearly Eye (Enodia anthedon)
Northern Pearly-eye — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Various native grasses including White grass (Leersia virginica), Bearded shorthusk (Brachyelytrum erectum), and Bottlebrush grass (Elymus hystrix or hystrix patula)

Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela)
Little Wood-Satyr — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Various native grasses (Poaceae family)

Common Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala)
Common Wood-Nymph — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Grasses including Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), Grove Bluegrass (Poa alsodes), Fowl Bluegrass (Poa palustris), and Woodland Bluegrass (Poa saltuensis)

Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles)
Tawny-edged Skipper — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Grasses including Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum) and some Bluegrasses: Grove Bluegrass (Poa alsodes), Fowl Bluegrass (Poa palustris), and Woodland Bluegrass (Poa saltuensis)

Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius)
Peck's Skipper — wisconsinbutterflies.org
Caterpillar hosts: Rice Cut Grass (Leersia oryzoides), and some Bluegrasses: Grove Bluegrass (Poa alsodes), Fowl Bluegrass (Poa palustris), and Woodland Bluegrass (Poa saltuensis)
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