Native Host Plants for Butterflies

Plant native host plants.

Native plants, trees, and shrubs that can be eaten by larval caterpillars are called host plants. Native host plants need planted in droves because they are the plants that sustain the life cycle of our butterflies and moths.

Most local nurseries stock non-native, sterile, and/or chemically treated plants, like the ever popular butterfly bush, which can't be eaten by our native larval caterpillars. While the butterfly bush supplies nectar for adult butterflies, they halt the life cycle of next generation butterflies because they can't be eaten by larval caterpillars. Butterfly bushes should be planted only if you have a plethora of native host plants to keep the life cycle going. Even then- I wish folks just wouldn't plant these but that would be a perfect world.

The introduction of just this one non-native plant, along with urban sprawl reducing meadows has crippled our butterfly populations.

Pressure your retailers

Choose your plants consciously. Ask your nursery to stock NATIVE HOST PLANTS in place of non-native butterfly bushes. Ask for host plants to be organically grown and  identified clearly as host plants. Don't buy any plants box from Big Box stores!

Change starts with the consumer - who must put pressure on retailers. If we don’t change the ratio of non-native to natives being sold--nothing will change. Lastly, Please seek out native plant sellers locally or online.