Arguably the most popular insect in our landscape, Butterflies are beloved by all.  Now everyone can easily start a Butterfly Garden to attract and raise butterflies … guaranteed!  Here are two easy steps on How to Attract Butterflies and keep them coming to visit your garden.

  1. Adult Nectar Source. Adult butterflies feed mostly on nectar and pollen sources from flowers of varying colors, sizes and shapes.  Here is a popular list of Florida Friendly Landscape (FFL) perennials that are great nectar sources.

Ageratum spp. (Ageratum)

Asclepias spp. (Milkweed)

Bidens alba (Spanish Needles)

Coreopsis spp. (Tickseed)

Cuphea hyssopifolia (Mexican Heather)

Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel)

Gaillardia spp. (Blanket Flower)

Gaura spp. (Whirling Butterflies)

Hamelia patens (Firebush)

Justicia spp. (Shrimp Plant)

Leonotis spp. (Lion’s Ear)


Liatris spp. (Blazing Star)


Monarda spp. (Beebalm)

Odontonema spp. (Firespike)

Pentas spp. (Pentas)

Passiflora spp. (Passion Vine)

Phyla nodiflora (Turkey Tangle Fogfruit)
Rudbeckia spp. (Black-Eyed Susan)

Salvia spp. (Salvia)

Solidago spp. (Goldenrod)

Stachytarpheta spp. (Porterweed)

Tagetes spp. (Marigold)

Tithonia rotundifolia (Mexican Sunflower)

  1. Larval Host Plants. Butterfly caterpillars have very specific plant preferences.  Adult butterflies will lay their eggs on specific Larval Host Plants.  It is these host plants that encourage the butterfly to stay and reproduce.  (See attached for complete list.)  Here are 3 great starter host plants that are available locally.Aristolochia spp. (Dutchman’s Pipe Vine)= Swallowtail butterflies
    Asclepias spp. (Milkweed) = Monarch & Queen butterflies
    Passiflora spp. (Passion Vine) = Zebra Longwing & Gulf Fritillary butterflies

Remember, these are the Right Plants that require planting in the Right Place.  Grow them in full sun to partial shade for excellent results.  Follow growing, watering and fertilizing guidelines on the Gardening Solutions website.  You will begin to attract a multitude of wildlife, including many other pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds.

This post was written with the help of one of our Lake County Master Gardener Volunteers. Thank you!

by Jamie Daugherty

Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert

Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.

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