Planting a Larval Host Garden

As much as I love to talk about my sweet bees, today I want to share how you can help your local butterflies by planting a larval host garden.

When people share with me what they are planting for their local pollinators, one of the first plants listed is the butterfly bush (buddleia davidii). Although this plant is beautiful and a wonderful nectar source, it is considered invasive in many areas.

If you choose to plant a butterfly bush in your garden, I highly recommend planting it in a container. You can also purchase a sterile cultivator. These plants produce a minimal amount of seeds compared to the non-sterile varieties.

More importantly, the butterfly bush is NOT a larval host plant. Insects require a host plant for reproduction. The butterfly offspring needs to be able to feed on the leaves of native species for survival.

Host Plant Recommendations:

Here are just a few wonderful host plants that you can add to your gardens for the butterflies:

  • Herbs: hyssop, dill, mint
  • Perennials: aster, hollyhock, milkweed, purple coneflower, wild indigo, joe-pye weed, sedum & black-eyed susan
  • Cover Crops: alfalfa, clover, mustard
  • Grasses: bluegrass, bluestem, sedge, & switch grass
  • Trees: black cherry, oak, poplar, tulip tree, pawpaw & willow
  • Vines: honeysuckle, hops, moon flower & Passion flower
  • Shrubs: false indigo, spicebush, viburnum, lilac

Note: If you are looking to bring monarchs to your backyard gardens, plant a variety of milkweeds. Milkweed is the ONLY host plant for the monarch butterfly.

💚 Note: I purchase my milkweed seeds from Botanical Interests

Spring is just around the corner!

It is never too early to start planning for this year’s gardening season.

If you have a passion for butterflies, check out our Monarch note card set in our online shop!

Monarch note card set

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