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Butterfly Habitat & Conservation

 

 

Midwestern Butterflies You Can See in Your Backyard

 

Butterfly Host-Larvae Food Adult Food Comments
American Copper Sorrels, docks white clover, yarrow, butterfly weed likes fields and roadsides
American Painted Lady Everlastings, pussy toes zinnias, cosmos, petunias likes to puddle in open moist areas
Black Swallowtail Carrots, dill, parsley, parsnip giant zinnias, asters, sunflowers likes open areas, puddlings
Blues Clover, vetch legumes, clovers, asters like to puddle
Buckeye Plantains & snapdragons snapdragons, butterfly weed likes to puddle, prefers weedy areas
Comma & Question Mark Nettles Sap, grasses prefer log piles for hiding
Fritillaries Violets butterfly weed, Joe pye weed like open areas with lots of moisture
Giant Swallowtail Prickly ash, hop tree lantana, trumpet vine, tall Phlox likes puddling, dung
Gulf Fritillary Passionflowers lantana, butterfly bush, phlox prefers open areas
Hairstreaks Oaks, hickories, legumes Nicotiana, daises, violets, phlox likes to puddle
Milbert's Tortoiseshell Nettles Sap and fruit, coneflowers, daises likes open areas near streams
Monarchs Milkweed Sedum, butterfly weed, rotting fruit loves watermelon, cosmos, zinnias
Mourning Cloak Willow, birch, aspens, elms Sap, fruit, gas plant, Joe Pye Weed, likes to puddle, prefers open areas
Painted Lady Thistles, hollyhocks hollyhocks, Joe Pye Weed, likes to puddle in open areas, rotting fruit
Pipevine Swallowtail Pipevines cosmos, sunflowers, phlox likes woods & open areas, puddlings
Red Admiral Nettles Sap, fruit, dung, asters, violets likes moist wood edges
Red Spotted Purple Wild Cherry, aspens rotting fruit, black-eyed susans likes moist forests with willows
Skippers & Satyr Grasses sap, grass plant juices usually very low to the ground
Spicebush Swallowtail Spicebush, sassafras pepper grass and winter cress likes puddles
Sulfurs Peas, clover, alfalfa, vetches marigolds, cosmos, coreopsis likes to puddle, loves dandelions & clover
Tiger Swallowtail Black cherry, aspen Nicotiana, giant zinnias prefer trees nearby
Viceroy Willows, aspens Sap, dung, asters, penta, lantana likes to puddle
Whites cabbage, kale, broccoli pepper grass and winter cress dandelions in spring, red clover in summer

Herb List For Butterflies

       
HERB HOST PLANT TO: HERB HOST PLANT TO:
Anise Black Swallowtail Marjoram Sootywings
Basil Good Nectar source Mallow Painted Lady, Hairstreak, Skippers
Bee Balm Good Nectar source Mints Gray Hairstreak
Borage and Burdock Painted Lady Mustards Orange Tips, Marblewings
Caraway Black Swallowtail Nasturtium Cabbage White, Spring Azure
Parsley Black Swallowtail Nettle Question Mark, Comma, Red Admiral
Clover Sulphurs and White Pennyroyal Repels Deer Ticks
Dill Black Swallowtail Plantain Variegated Fritillary, Checkerspots, Buckeye
Dock Coppers Rue Black Swallowtail
Fennel Black Swallowtail Sage Good Nectar source
Wild Ginger Pipevine Sassafras Spicebush Swallowtail
Hop Vine Tortoise Shell, Red Admiral Vervain Checkerspot
Hyssop (water) Good Nectar source Violet Fritillaries
Lavender Black Swallowtail Yarrow Black Swallowtail

 

Insect Deterrent Plants

PLANT INSECT DETERRED PLANT INSECT DETERRED
Anise Aphids Mints Ants
Aster Most Nasturtium Aphids
Basil Flies & Mosquitoes Petunia Most
Bee Balm Most Rosemary Cabbage Moth
Coriander Aphids Rue Japanese Beetle
Garlic Japanese Beetle Sage Cabbage Moth
Marigolds Real Workhorse Tansy Ants & Plant Lice

 

Milkweed Plants

  Common Name Description  
Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly Weed Perennial prairie plant with orange clusters and deep, thick roots. Blooms June to September. Grows 2-3 feet tall.
Asclepias speciosa Showy Milkweed Perennial with ten to twenty five point star shaped, pink flowers on a stem with oval shaped leaves six to eight inches long. Grows 2-4 feet tall and be aggressive.
Asclepias incarnata Swamp Milkweed Native perennial with red, bright pink or white flowers. Long thin leaves, blooms July and August, grows 2-4 feet tall.
Asclepias syriaca Common Milkweed Perennial with pink flower clusters on top. Plants bloom in late summer. Grows 3-4 feet tall and can be aggressive.
Ascelpias sullivante Smooth Milkweed Perennial with pink flower clusters on top. Plants bloom in late summer. Grows 3-4 feet tall and can be aggressive. Perennial herb from a deep rhizome. Flowers are dull purplish-pink to greenish white.
Asclepias curassavica Tropical Milkweed Perennial herb with reddish orange and yellow flowers; commonly visited by butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, flies, and beetles. Found in roadsides and pastures

 

Butterfly Pie Puddles

Butterfly pie puddles give butterflies a helping hand by offering them a drink. Butterflies must drink water from nectar and other moist substances. Male butterflies often "puddle" in the summertime at muddy spots which provide butterflies with the water and minerals they need. You can provide a mud puddle for butterflies to gather in.

What You Need:

  Flat pan (such as a pie pan)

  Garden soil

  Water

Fill an old pie pan or other shallow pan nearly to the rim with plain dirt, which is rich in minerals. Add water to make soupy mud. Set your homemade mud puddle out where lots of flowers attract butterflies. Add enough water each day to keep the mud very wet. Watch the puddle over several days. You may see butterflies landing on the mud for a drink.

 

 

 

Butterfly Delight Muffins

Butterfly Delight Muffins are flowery treats that butterflies love to eat. Choose a nice sunny day to whip up a batch of these sweet "mud muffins," and watch to see who flies by! You won't want to place these muffins too close to the house, since there might be bugs also dropping by for a snack. And while these muffins look good enough to eat, unless you're a butterfly, don't try them!

What You Need:  

                                          Soil                                  Water

                           Flower Petals                                    cup honey or

                Individual muffin cups                                  corn syrup

                                       Spoon                                   Flowers

Mix the soil and water together to make a nice, firm mud. Collect some wildflower petals, and stir into the mud. Add the honey or corn syrup, and stir well. Spoon the mix into individual muffin cups, and top each with a pretty flower top. Set the muffins in a place where you have seen butterflies before. Now wait for your fluttering guests to arrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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