Steph's Virtual Garden Butterfly Nectar Plants
Explore our garden. Click on the picture or name of the Butterfly Nectar Plant to Discover...
Zebra Heliconian Butterflies nectaring on Spanish Needles Flowers
Spanish Needles
Cassius Blue Butterfly sipping nectar from a Phyla nodiflora flower
Phyla nodiflora
Zebra Heliconian Butterfly Getting Nectar and Pollen from a Firebush flower
Plumbago flower
Salvia or Sage
Salvia or Sage
(comes in several colors)
Florida Native Lantana Flower
Florida Native Lantana
Lantana flower
(comes in many colors)
Penta flower
(comes in many colors)
Blue Porterweed flowers
Blue Porterweed
Jatropha flowers
Atala Butterfly on Fiddlewood flowers
Milkweed flowers
Milkweed flowers
Hammock snakeroot flowers
Hammock Snakeroot
Ageratina jucunda
Soldier Butterfly Nectars on Purple Mistflower, Ageratum
Purple Mistflower
Florida ironweed flowers
Florida ironweed
Vernonia blodgettii
Empty spots are just photos I still need to take...
every time I add a row I end up with them.
Richardia grandiflora, pink lawn weed flowers
Richardia grandiflora
Pineland Petunia, Ruellia succulenta
Pineland Petunia
Ruellia succulenta
White Crownbeard flowers
White Crownbeard
Verbesina virginica
Bloodberry flowers
Chaya, Tree Spinach, Cnidoscolus chayamansa, close-up of white flower
Ludwigias (Primrose) flower
Wild Poinsettia
Wild Poinsettia
Spermacoce verticillata flower
Spermacoce verticillata
Dill in bloom
Ruellia brittoniana (Wild Petunia) purple flower
Ruellia brittoniana
(Wild Petunia)
Emilia fosbergii flower
Tassel Flower
Emilia fosbergii
Emilia sonchifolia flower
Tassel Flower
Emilia sonchifolia
Cassia Alata, yellow flower stalk
Cassia Alata
Hempweed in bloom
Close up of the small yellow Sida acuta flower
Sida acuta
Balsam apple flower
Balsam apple,
Momordica charantia L
Monarch Butterfly sips nectar from Pickerelweed
Yellow Wood Sorrel, Oxalis
Yellow Wood Sorrel
...always more on the way Additional plant pages:

Host Plants

Wetland Plants

Weedy Plants

Other Plants

Nectar Trees
Atala Butterfly Sips Nectar From Gumbo Limbo Tree Flower
Gumbo Limbo
Nectar Plants
Julia btterfly with its proboscis extended into a Spermacoce verticillata flower seeking nectar See the proboscis of the Julia Butterfly extending into the Spermacoce verticillata flower to retrieve nectar.

Visit my Butterfly pages to see my best butterfly pictures.

Nectar plants are any flowering plant that a butterfly sips nectar from. In my yard, native Firebush, Spanish Needles, Plumbago and Phyla nodiflora are my most active nectar plants. I'm not (too much of) a native plant nut, and I'll use and keep most any plant that works for me whether it's native or not, but it is true in many cases that the native plants work best; my butterflies love those flowers. On the other hand, there is no native milkweed commercially available that grows where I live, so both of my milkweed varieties are non-native - just and example.

Unfortunately, if you're like most of us, you've all ready spent a great deal of time and money destroying your best nectar and host plants. They're weeds, and you've probably dedicated immeasurable efforts to eradicating them. As you find out which ones are important to the butterflies you love, consider letting some of them live. When I mow the lawn, particularly on the sides, in the back, or in a few places somewhat hidden from view behind another plant in the front, I deliberately skip little bits of Phyla nodiflora when it's in bloom. Each time I mow, I leave different little bits of it so things don't get overgrown, but it's really fun to look out and see those mini-preserves all a'buzz with insect life. Sometimes I dig up a great weed and put it in one of my garden areas.

Yes, you can use pretty plants from your local stores too. They usually spray them with lots of junk to kill bugs, so you'll probably have to wait a season before your butterflies start to visit the flowers unless you get them from a butterfly friendly place.

Humm... which plants are best for the butterflies in your area? The best advice I've gotten on that to date was from the folks who run Meadow Beauty, a local native plant nursery. They told me, "Follow the butterflies." That's worked very well for me. If I'm out, and I see a butterfly I want in my yard, I follow it and watch it for a while. When it stops to sip nectar from a flower, that's the kind of plant I want to get. (Ok, no one has time for that, and usually neither do I. It would be more accurate to say that I occasionally reserve an hour for myself, drive to some park or field I think I might find butterflies at, and enjoy grabbing some new pictures, which conveniently documents which flowers the butterflies like to drink nectar from.) Removing plants from places that don't belong to you can get you in a world of trouble, so I suggest bringing a camera and taking a couple of pictures of the plant to help you identify it so you can get one, or go back and find it when it's in seed.

That method might not work as well with high fast fliers like the Giant Swallowtail butterfly, but it works with enough butterflies that it's useful. The butterflies will show you what they like best. When I go to Meadow Beauty to buy a new plant, I just stand there and watch for a while, and I get the plant that either has the butterfly I'm particularly interested in that day, or the flowering plant that is attracting the most kinds of butterflies, or the plant with caterpillars of a type of butterfly I want to introduce to my yard all ready on it.

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