Butterflies, pollinators and nectar feeders will love a garden of mixed masses of flowers. Here are a few popular choices to attract butterflies to your garden.
As your garden grows keep an eye out for some of these common Midwestern butterflies!
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) can be found in most sunny places including moist fields, prairies or marshes. Red Admiral caterpillars eat plants of the Nettle family.
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) closely resembles Monarch Butterfly but acts much differently; they are territorial and will chase off other butterflies and fly by flapping rather than gliding like the Monarchs. Viceroys are usually found in wetlands and prairies with willows. Viceroy caterpillars feed on Willows, Aspens and Cottonwoods.
Monarch (Danaus plexippus) caterpillars eat a strictly Milkweed diet which makes them poisonous to predators (birds know to stay away from Monarchs!). The Monarchs are the most common butterflies you will see as they flutter through your garden.
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) caterpillars eat Thistle, Mallow, Hollyhock and related plants. An interesting bit of trivia, they are found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia.
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) likes sunny places with weeds and flowers, and can be found in gardens, vacant lots, old fields, pastures and marshes. Black Swallowtail Caterpillars eat Parsnips, Wild Carrots, Celery, Parsley and Dill.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) are most commonly found in woodlands, fields, rivers, creeks, roadsides, and gardens. Tiger Swallowtail caterpillars eat Prunus, Sweet Bay Magnolia, Tilia, Liriodendron to name a few.