| Introduction |
Butterfly gardening consists of growing plants that butterflies need to stay alive.
The types of plants needed are generally divided into two broad categories - host plants and nectar plants.
Each butterfly species uses only one or a handful of specific plant species as a host plant. For example,
Monarchs will only lay eggs on milkweed plants, and Monarch caterpillars will only eat milkweed. If they
run out of milkweed they will die, they will not eat anything else. Zebra Swallowtails will only use PawPaw
as a host plant.
To attract adult butterflies in your garden it is best to grow both host and nectar plants.
Both male and female adults will come to sip nectar from the flowers. If appropriate host plants
are also present they will stay in the area longer. Males of many species tend to 'hang out'
near host plants to 'meet' females and females will come to lay eggs.
Since only around 1% of the butterfly eggs laid will survive to become an adult butterfly many
people like to raise the caterpillars in a protected area to reduce their chance of being eaten by a predator.
This is not necessary, but can be fun and a great learning experience.
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