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- Some common caterpillar food sources are asters, borage, chickweed, clover, crabgrass, hollyhocks, lupines, mallows, marigold, milkweed or butterfly weed, nasturtium, parsley, pearly everlasting, ragweed, spicebush, thistle, violets and wisteria. Caterpillars also thrive on trees such as ash, birch, black locust, elm and oak.
- Annual nectar plants include ageratum, alyssum, candy tuft, dill, cosmos, pinks, pin cushion flower, verbena and zinnia.
- Common perennial nectar plants include chives, onions, pearly everlasting, chamomile, butterfly weed, milkweeds, daisies, thistles, purple coneflower, sea holly, blanket flower, lavender, marjoram, mints, moss phlox, sage, stonecrops, goldenrod, dandelion and valerian.
Remember that butterflies are cold-blooded insects that bask in sun to warm their wings for flight and to orient themselves. They also need shelter from wind, a source of water, and partly shady areas provided by trees and shrubs.
Jane Lake's work has appeared in Canadian Living, You and Modern Woman magazines. To make your own butterfly feeders, read her article, Butterfly Food or visit her Nature Crafts section for more nature articles, including how to make nectar for hummingbirds, plus more on butterfly gardens.