Butterfly Gardening

Visitors to Riverland Nursery are amazed at the number of butterflies in our gardens. Creating a landscape or garden that attracts and nurtures butterflies is a rewarding and exciting experience. In order to successfully attract butterflies and have them stay in the garden, both nectar and larval food plants are needed. The colorful nectar flowers provide the energy the adults require to live and thrive. The butterflies lay their eggs on the larval host plants and when the caterpillars hatch, they proceed to eat the host plant. (The plant may look a little ragged for a short time.) Each butterfly species requires a specific set of larval plants. Caterpillars are picky eaters, subsequently, planting a variety of larval and nectar plants is essential for creating a garden that attracts a variety of butterflies.

Plant some nectar plants and the butterflies will visit your yard. Add the larval plants and the butterflies will stay around and raise families in your yard. Some of our favorite nectar plants are: Penta, Jatropha, Firebush, Lantana, Blanket Flower, Dune Sunflower, Tampa Verbena, Red Firespike, Coral Honeysuckle and Fiddlewood. Important larval plants are: Wild Lime (Giant Swallowtail), Mexican Milkweed (Monarch), Sweet Bay Magnolia (Tiger Swallowtail), Frog Fruit (Peacock), Corky Stem Passionvine (Zebra heliconia), Wild Petunia (Buckeye), Dutchman’s Pipevine (Polydamas Swallowtail) and Dill, Fennel, Parsley (Black Swallowtail).

Riverland Nursery always has a broad selection of larval and host plants available for sale.

For more information about gardening with butterflies, visit:

North American Butterfly Association’s website.

Florida Butterfly Gardening By Marc C. Minno & Maria Minno is a great reference to get you started.

Butterfly Gardening in Florida; University of Florida IFAS – WEC-22 is a very informative article which ties individual nectar and larval plants to specific butterflies.

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