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Southern Plains Regional Reports

Butterfly Host Plants for the Southern Plains Garden

Identify which plants you’ll need to host the hungry caterpillars of your favorite butterflies

While butterflies like these gulf fritillaries may sample nectar from an assortment of flowers, different species require specific plants to lay their eggs on and consume as caterpillars. Photo: pxfuel.com

There are many reasons for having a butterfly garden, the simplest one being sheer beauty. People of all ages enjoy watching butterflies dance through their gardens. Butterflies also serve as important pollinators. And as we continue to hear in the news, their populations are in sharp decline, so efforts to aid their numbers are well-directed.

Butterflies may sip nectar from different plants than their eggs are laid on

A complete butterfly garden includes nectar plants for nourishing the adult butterflies and host plants to house and nourish the caterpillars. While there are specific nectar plants that butterflies may favor, adult butterflies may sip nectar from many flowering plant species, both native and nonnative. They are not tied to a single nectar source, or even a handful of sources. They are, however, tied to a smaller number of (many times even a single) host plant species for laying their eggs. The…

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