Many gardeners have experienced the joy of attracting our beautiful butterflies to our gardens. You will find much information available under the guise of butterfly gardening. Many plants, both native and exotic, are advertised as butterfly plants.
For the most part, these plants provide a source of nectar for butterflies and other insects. It is equally important, however, to provide host plants for the caterpillars of these butterflies so that we can ensure survival of butterfly populations over the long term. A specific butterfly species typically requires a very specific host plant.
For example, monarch butterflies require milkweed plants and spicebush swallowtails require either spicebush or sassafras in order to reproduce. Planting butterfly bush, which is an exotic shrub, may attract butterflies to your yard, but it will be useless in terms of butterfly reproduction.
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