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What are the best plants to attract butterflies to my garden???

Native plants are best because butterflies have adapted to using them as habitat over thousands of years.  Another reason for planting natives is their natural hardiness.  These plants are adapted to whatever nature hurls at them, including extended periods of drought or excessive rain.  Native plants provide a natural habitat and food source to other wildlife as well.

What is a butterfly host plant?

The plants on which female butterflies lay their eggs are known as host plants.  After the eggs hatch, emerging caterpillars feed off of the host plant.  Each species of butterfly requires specific host plants for its caterpillars to eat.  Plant native plants & trees if you are looking to support butterfly populations.  Several different species of milkweed, aka Asclepias, serve as host plants for the endangered Monarch butterfly.

Native host plants of common South Jersey butterflies

Black Swallowtail...golden alexander

Juniper hairstreak...eastern red cedar (Juniper virginiana)


Red Admiral...false nettle

Red-spotted Purple (or "NJ Pinelands")...birch, black cherry, willows

Spicebush Swallowtail...spicebush, sassafras

Tiger cherry, sweetbay magnolia, liriodendron


Nectar Costello's Garden Center for dozens of butterfly & hummingbird nectar plants.  A large variety of annual flowers, herbaceous perennials, vines, and flowering shrubs arrive weekly, helping you create your own backyard habitat!

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