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The following are 'larval host plants.' The caterpillar portion of the moth & butterfly (Lepidoptera) life cycle is a critical stage in which resources are obtained to springboard the insect into it's mature winged form. Much more attention & support in this area is needed, as the example of the Monarch with the milkweed host plant. The plants below are some that are known to provide those resources.

This category is a work-in-progress. Ongoing effort will be made to include more larval host plants as well as which Lepidopteran caterpillar(s) each plant supports.

Often, adult butterflies 'hang around' their host plants. The female to lay eggs & the male which is seeking females. Look for egg-laying & eggs. Find a cocoon or chrysalis. This is a great activity to engage children!
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Butterfly Milkweed

Asclepias tuberosa

Flame orange flowers are stunning in masses or drifts and attract pollinators galore. Interestingly, this plant does not exude the "milk" colored sap, however, although said to be less preferred than other milkweed species, is nonetheless a Monarch butterfly host plant. Quantities may be limited.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Dry to Average
Height: 2 feet
Blooms: June-August
Flowers: Orange

Price: $7.95
New England Aster

Aster novae-angliae, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

Profuse royal purple flowers, each up to 1.5 inches wide. Flowers may also be shades of pink or even white. Plant may be trimmed to desired height in midsummer.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Wet to Dry
Height: to 5 feet
Blooms: August to October
Flowers: Usually Purple, also Pink, White

Price: $7.95
Wild Strawberry

Fragaria virginiana

Wild or Virginia Strawberry has white flowers which provide early-season nectar. Decorative in a hanging pot and effective as a ground cover in full sun & average to dry soil as it spreads readily by stolons. High ecological value with nectar, pollen & as a larval host plant. A larval host for the Grizzled Skipper butterfly.

Light: Full to Part Sun
Soil: Average
Height: 4 to 7 inches
Blooms: April-June
Flowers: White

Price: $7.95
Narrow-leaved Sunflower

Helianthus angustifolius

Enough cannot be said of the abundance and beauty of these flowers. The leaves are sparse and small, making the entire plant appear to be a bountiful bouquet. It has a long blooming period. If left standing, the seed support many birds through winter. Under favorable conditions, plant may spread readily.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Average to Moist
Height: 3 to 6 feet
Blooms: July-August
Flowers: Yellow

Price: $7.95
Few-leaved Sunflower

Helianthus occidentalis

Most of the leaves are clustered in a basal rosette making the flowering stems look airy and perfect to trim and pop into a vase. Like other sunflowers seed heads left on drying fall stems will provide food for birds in winter. Visited by a multitude of pollinators and is one larval host for the Gorgone Checkerspot, Silvery Checkerspot and Painted Lady butterflies.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Dry to Average
Height: 2 to 4 feet
Blooms: August-September
Flowers: Yellow

Price: $7.95
Passion Vine, Maypop

Passiflora incarnata

Flowers are unique & showy, complete with "frills." Larval host to the Variegated Fritillary (caterpillar pictured in slide show), Zebra Longwing, Red-banded Hairstreak, and Gulf Fritillary butterflies. Under favorable conditions Maypop may spread readily. Consider a contained situation for the home garden for long term ease of care.

Light: Full Sun to Part Shade
Soil: Average
Blooms: July-September
Flowers: Purple

Price: $7.95
Buttonbush

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Shrub. Showy white flowers borne in spherical clusters draw numerous pollinators. Bees use nectar for making honey, seeds feed wildlife. Prune to desired shape. Great for borders, rain gardens or as a specimen plant, even erosion control. Larval host plant for a number of species of Lepidoptera.

Light: Full to Part Sun
Soil: Average to Wet
Height: 5 to 12 feet
Blooms: June-September
Flowers: White

Price: $7.95
Stiff Goldenrod

Solidago rigida

One of the prettiest Goldenrods. Broad, flattened clusters of rich yellow flowers attract pollinators galore. Plant is tall, unbranched and spreads by rhizomes.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Average to Dry
Height: 2 to 5 feet
Blooms: July-September
Flowers: Yellow

Price: $7.95
Ninebark

Physocarpus opulifolius

Clusters of white-pink spirea-like flowers (not pictured) in spring, pink fruit (pictured) and exfoliating bark in winter give this shrub multi-season appeal. Good for erosion control, hedges. Larval host to many (40) native Lepidoptera.

Light: Full Sun to Part Shade
Soil: Average to Dry
Height: 5 to 8 feet
Blooms: May to June
Flowers: White to Pink

Price: $7.95
Sky Blue Aster

Symphyotrichum oolentangiense, Aster azureus

Blue flowers (0.5" to 1") with yellow centers beautify the garden with color & attract pollinators seeking late-season nectar. This plant is easy to grow, drought-tolerant & can be used in rock gardens.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Dry to Average
Height: 2 to 3 feet
Blooms: September to October
Flowers: Blue with Yellow Center

Price: $7.95
Swamp Rose

Rosa palustris

Good selection for seasonally flooded area in full sun. Flowers are fragrant and showy (to 2" across). Attractive reddish fall color. Spreads by suckers.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Average to seasonally Wet
Height: 3 to 6 feet
Blooms: June to July
Flowers: Pink

Price: $7.95
Carolina Wild Petunia

Ruellia caroliniensis

A wonderful little plant that produces a relatively big, cheerful flower (to 2" long). Blooms intermittently throughout the growing season. Drought tolerant. One larval host plant for the Common Buckeye butterfly. Source of nectar for hummingbirds.

Light: Part to Full Sun
Soil: Moist to Dry
Height: 6-24"
Blooms: May-September
Flowers: Pale Purple

Price: $7.95