RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — One of spring’s most elegant bugs, the butterfly, will soon be reappearing all across Virginia, but to see more of the flying critters in your own yard, you’ll have to provide just the right types of tantalizing attractions.
There are dozens of species of butterfly common to Virginia, from Black Swallowtails, to Monarchs, the summer and spring azures, and the white admirals. With each individual species, comes a different preference in diet and breeding grounds.
Check out the list below, created by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program, to find out which native plants your favorite Virginia butterflies prefer, and curate your own backyard garden to entice them your way!
- American Lady — pussytoe, ironweed
- Azures — flowers of dogwood, New Jersey tea, cherry, meadowsweet, holly, viburnum
- Black Swallowtail — dill, parsley, fennel, carrot
- Buckeye — gerardia, plantain, snapdragon, foxglove, ruellia, monkey flower, verbena
- Clouded Sulphur — clover (mainly white)
- Eastern Comma — nettle, elm, hops
- Eastern Tailed-Blue — clover, vetch, legumes
- Fritillaries — violet, pansy, sedum, passionflower
- Gray Hairstreak — legumes, cotton flowers, oaks
- Monarch — milkweed species
- Orange Sulphur — alfalfa, clover, wild indigo
- Pearl Crescent — aster (probably not New York, flat-top or white wood asters)
- Red Admiral — nettle, Pennsylvania pellitory
- Red-Spotted Purple — cherry, serviceberry, cottonwood, aspen, willow, scrub & black oaks
- Silver-Spotted Skipper — black & honey locusts, wisteria
- Skippers (various) — native grasses & sedges
- Spicebush Swallowtail — sassafras, spicebush
- Tiger Swallowtail (Eastern) — tulip tree, wild black cherry, lilac, ash, basswood, willow
You can also check out this report by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener’s program for more information on how to make your garden a better home for native birds and wildlife.
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