By choosing the right plants you can attract butterflies into your garden and encourage them to stay for a while. Gardeners don’t necessarily need large landscapes to provide the basics for butterfly survival. Butterflies need nectar plants, larval host plants, resting areas, sun and water. This is a list of plants that provide nectar for common PNW adult butterflies, as well as and plants that host their larvae (caterpillars).

BUTTERFLY

CATERPILLAR HOST PLANT

BUTTERFLY NECTAR SOURCE

 

Anise Swallowtail

Carrot, dill, parsley

Lantana, mint, penstemon, zinnia

 

American Apollo

Bleeding heart*

Blackberry

 

Brown elfin

Apple, azalea, manzanita*, rhododendron*, salal*

Cherry, plum, willow*, Indian plum*

 

California Tortoiseshell

Ceanothus*

Willow*, lilac, sneezeweed, goldenrod*

 

Common Ringlet

Grasses*

Dandelion, buttercup*

 

Common Wood-nymph

Grasses*

Coneflower, mint, sunflower, fleabane*, penstemon, clematis

 

Gray Hairstreak

Pea, mallow*, borage, rhododendron*, rose*, pine*

Goldenrod*, milkweed*, clover, winter cress

 

Great Spangled Fritillary

Violet

Black-eyed Susan, milkweed, verbena, thistle

 

Lorquin’s Admiral

Apple, cherry, oceanspray*, willow*

Blackberry, privet, thistle, wild mustard

 

Monarch

Milkweed*

Cosmos, lantana, lilac, milkweed*, zinnia

 

Mourning Cloak

Birch*, hawthorn*, rose*, willow*

Milkweed*, rockcress, willow*

 

Mylitta Crescent

Thistle

Aster*, goldenrod*, pearly everlasting*

 

Orange Sulphur

Alfalfa, clover, vetch

Alfalfa, aster, mustard, red-osier dogwood

 

Painted Lady

Mainly thistle. Also, hollyhock, pearly everlasting, sunflower,

Aster*, coneflower, cosmos, dandelion, milkweed*, Oregon grape*, zinnia

 

Pale Swallowtail

Cascara, cherry, hawthorn*, oceanspray*, plum

Blackberry, columbine*, mint, oceanspray, penstemon, sweet-william

 

Pine White

Douglas fir*, hemlock*, pine*, redcedar*, true fir*

Coreopsis, daisies, dusty miller, goldenrod*, lobelia

 

Purplish Copper

Cinquefoil, dock, sorrel

Clover, heather, mint

 

Red Admiral

Nettle

Aster*, daisy, goldenrod*, milkweed*, thistle

 

Sara Orangetip

Winter cress

Dandelion, cherry, monkey flower, plum, strawberry, rockcress

 

Satyr Comma

Nettle

Aster*, blackberry, dandelion, rotting fruit

 

Spring Azure

Cherry, dogwood*, madrone*, oak*, oceanspray*, salal*

Ceanothus*, cherry, milkweed*, plum, willow*

 

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Aspen, big-leaf maple*, willow*

Honeysuckle*, lavender, lilac milkweed*, mock orange*, rhododendron*

 

Woodland Skipper

Grasses*

Aster*, black-eyed susan, bluebeard, pearly everlasting*, sage

 

*- some wild varieties are native to the PNW