If you want to attract butterflies, you also need butterfly attracting plants (hosts) that will attract the caterpillars!
Our native Common Milkweed, known as Asclepias syriaca, attracts monarch caterpillars. This particular plant forms long runners and can become invasive. Swamp Milkweed, or Asclepias incarnata, is a better alternative and is adapted to dry as well as wet conditions.
The caterpillar of the endangered Karner blue butterfly will only eat the leaves of wild lupine, or Lupis perennis. Custom Grown Greenhouse carries these butterfly attracting plants.
Black swallowtail caterpillars like members of the carrot family, so Queen Anne’s Lace, Fennel, and Dill are favorites. For more information, you can check out this website.
More broadly, pollinator gardens focus on appealing to all kinds of pollinators. Pollinators in Wisconsin include: butterflies, bees, other insects, hummingbirds, and more.
Bright colors and specific shapes attract different species. For example, hummingbirds like tubular flowers so perennials like lupines, honeysuckle, columbine and salvia are perfect. Annuals like zinnias, petunias, and impatiens are also great pollinator flowers.
Stay tuned for more suggestions on other pollinator plants!
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