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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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Dutchman's Pipevine Dutchman's Pipevine

Aristolochia tomentosa
Larval host plant for the lovely blue and black Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly! Leaves are blue-green and heart-shaped. Flowers resemble a little pipe. Grown from Kentucky-source seed.

Light: Full Sun to Part Shade
Soil: Average
Height: to 30 feet
Blooms: May-June
Bloom Color: Green

Attracts: Butterflies
Host to: Pipevine Swallowtail

Price: $8.50
Whorled Milkweed Whorled Milkweed

Asclepias verticillata

Dainty in appearance with "whorls" of thin leaves and elegant clusters of white flowers. This plant is ideal for that tough spot in dry soil and full sun. Spreads by rhizomes. Larval host to the Monarch butterfly. Grown from Kentucky-source seed.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Dry
Height: 2 feet
Blooms: July-September
Flowers: White

Price: $8.50
White Turtlehead White Turtlehead

Chelone glabra

Well sought-after host plant for the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly. Blooms are white, sometimes tinged with pink. Perfect plant for a damp spot with intermittent light. Grown from Kentucky-source seed.

Light: Part Sun
Soil: Moist
Height: 2'-4 feet
Blooms: August-October
Flower: White, White & Pink

Price: $8.50
Wild Strawberry 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 as it spreads readily by stolons. Having high ecological value, it provides early season nectar, pollen & serves as a larval host plant.

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

Price: $8.50
Carolina Milkvine Carolina Milkvine

Matelea carolinensis

This is a vine in the Milkweed Family that has milky sap and hosts the Monarch caterpillar. The leaves are opposite and heart-shaped. Unique and attractive flowers are a deep purple, pods are "spiny" but not sharp. Often found on basic soil near streams. Grown from Kentucky-source seed.

Light: Light Sun to Part Shade
Soil: Moist-Dry
Blooms: July-August
Flowers: Dark Purple

Price: $8.50
Anglepod Milkvine Anglepod Milkvine

Matelea gonocarpos

A member of the Milkweed Family, this vine "hosts" or feeds the Monarch caterpillar. It exudes white sap when injured. It is named for the ridges or angles on the surface of the pods, has opposite heart-shaped leaves and interesting green or green-&-purple star-shaped flowers. Grown from Kentucky-source seed.

Light: Part Sun
Soil: Moist
Blooms: June-July
Flowers: Green, Green and Purple

Price: $8.50
Passion Vine, Maypop 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 from underground roots. Consider a contained situation in the home garden for long term ease of care. Grown from Kentucky-source seed.

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

Price: $8.50
Stiff Goldenrod Stiff Goldenrod

Solidago rigida, Oligoneuron rigidum

One of the prettiest goldenrods, Rigid Goldenrod has broad, flattened clusters of rich yellow flowers that attract pollinators galore. Plant is tall, typically unbranched and spreads by rhizomes. Grown from Kentucky-source seed.

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

Price: $8.50
Rose Turtlehead Rose Turtlehead

Chelone obliqua

Attractive especially when planted in groups. Best planted in intermediate light with moist well-drained soil such as in a rain garden.

Light: Intermediate
Soil: Average to Wet
Height: 2 to 3 feet
Blooms: July-August
Flowers: Pink

Price: $8.50
Trumpet Honeysuckle Trumpet Honeysuckle

Lonicera sempervirens

Gorgeous trumpet-shaped scarlet flowers with orange throat attract hummingbirds & butterflies. Growth form tends to be "bushy," filling out nicely against a support. Easily trained to a trellis or arbor by tying & trimming to shape. Red berries feed birds in fall.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Average
Length: 10 to 15 feet
Blooms: May to June
Flowers: Red & Orange

Price: $8.50
Ninebark Ninebark

Physocarpus opulifolius

Clusters of white-pink spirea-like flowers bloom in spring, pink fruit (pictured) and exfoliating bark in fall & winter give this shrub multi-season appeal. Good for erosion control, specimen & 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: $8.50
Downy Sunflower Downy Sunflower

Helianthus mollis

A showy true sunflower which serves as a larval host to over 70 Lepidoptera (moths & butterflies). The foliage is "ashy" or grayish. The seed heads are a favorite of local birds in autumn. Best placed where it is free to spread or grown in pots. Grown from Kentucky-source seed.

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

Price: $8.50
Carolina Rose Carolina Rose

Rosa carolina

Fragrant pink 2" wide flowers are followed by red hips in late summer. Best used in full sun & massed in a border. May sucker to form colonies. Grown from Kentucky-source seed.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Average to Wet
Height: 3 to 6 feet
Blooms: May
Flowers: Pink

Price: $8.50
Yellow Passion Vine Yellow Passion Vine

Passiflora lutea

A delicate vine with tri-lobed leaves & small chartreuse flowers (~1/2 inch wide) that yield purple-black berries. Most often seen in moist, rich woods. It is an important food for the caterpillar of several species of butterfly. Grown from Kentucky-source seed.

Light: Part Shade
Soil: Moist, Well-Drained
Height: to 15 feet
Blooms: May-September
Flowers: Yellow to Cream

Price: $8.50
Rose Vervain Rose Vervain

Verbena canadensis

Attractive low mounding perennial with an extended bloom period. Good for ground cover, hanging baskets, window boxes, rock gardens & in pots. Attracts hummingbirds.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Average to Dry
Height: to 1.5 feet
Blooms: May to August
Flowers: Pink to Purple

Price: $8.50
Carolina Wild Petunia 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 & a source of nectar for hummingbirds. Grown from Kentucky-source seed.

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

Price: $8.50
Blue Wood Aster Blue Wood Aster

Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Aster cordifolius

Each plant yields a bouquet of lovely pale blue flowers with yellow centers. A source for late-season nectar. Trim to desired height through June.

Light: Full Sun to Part Shade
Soil: Average to Dry
Height: 2 to 5 feet
Blooms: August to September
Flowers: Blue with Yellow centers

Price: $8.50
Smooth Blue Aster Smooth Blue Aster

Symphyotrichum laeve, Aster laevis

A welcome profusion of lavender blooms late in the season. Good nectar source.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Dry to Average
Height: 2 to 4 feet
Blooms: September-October
Flowers: Blue-Violet

Price: $8.50
New England Aster New England Aster

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, Aster novae-angliae

Profusion of 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: $8.50
Aromatic Aster Aromatic Aster

Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, Aster oblongifolius

Perfect height for the home garden, profuse blue-lavender blooms provide the solution to both late-season color and nectar. Aromatic Aster, so-named for the odor resulting from crushed foliage, may also be trimmed to desired shape in mid-summer.

Light: Full to Part Sun
Soil: Average to Dry
Height: to 2 feet
Blooms: September-November
Flowers: Blue-Violet

Price: $8.50
Golden Alexanders Golden Alexanders

Zizia aurea

Yellow blooms, though moderately showy are cheerful, providing early season color and nectar for pollinators. Host plant for the Black Swallowtail Butterfly.

Light: Full Sun to Part Shade
Soil: Average
Height: 1.5 to 3 feet
Blooms: May-June
Flowers: Yellow

Price: $9.25
Heart-leaved Golden Alexanders Heart-leaved Golden Alexanders

Zizia aptera

Spring-blooming member of the Carrot family & host to the Black Swallowtail Butterfly. Umbels of yellow flowers are particularly appealing en mass. Heart-shaped basal leaves distinguish this species from Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea).

Light: Full to Part Sun
Soil: Average
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Blooms: May
Flowers: Yellow

Price: $9.25