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Butterfly Plants & Landscaping Resources

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Want to see more butterflies? Plant a butterfly garden!

The most successful butterfly gardens include a variety of
host plants (food sources for butterfly caterpillars, which draw in adult butterflies who want to lay eggs on them) and nectar plants (food sources for adult butterflies). Native plants are ideal both because they are best suited to survive in your region and because they are the best food & habitat sources for your local butterflies. Check out our Quick Guide for Butterfly Gardens for more tips and some plant suggestions!
Below you will find:
Please note the links are offered as options,
but are not endorsements.

Happy gardening!!
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Even if you rent or live in an apartment, you can make your outdoors more butterfly friendly without changing your landscaping!
  • Don't use pesticides/herbicides!
Butterflies are very sensitive to toxic chemicals, even those that drift over from nearby areas. Many butterflies also feed on the flowering "weeds" that often grow in lawns, such as clover.
  • Mow less frequently, & leave grasses taller when you do mow
Flowers from the "weeds" in your lawn get cut off by mowing, removing a vital food source for butterflies. Some caterpillars feed on grasses, and the higher you cut, the more likely they are to survive the mowing.
  • Don't bag, burn, or chop fallen leaves
Many butterflies don't migrate, but instead stay where they are and overwinter as pupa or adults. To survive the cold temperatures, they often hide in fallen leaves or rely on the layer of leaves to insulate the soil. Leave the leaves!
  • Leave outdoor lights off at night
Artificial light at night messes with the internal clocks of monarchs and disrupts their navigational abilities. It also interferes with the normal behaviors of many moths, including the gorgeous luna moth!

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." - Maya Angelou

Did you know?

Native Garden Design Resources

Please note the links are offered as options, but are not endorsements.

UBI Quick Guide for Butterfly Landscapes

UBI Butterfly Landscape Guide

Grow Native – Garden Designs

Indianapolis Native Planting Program-Garden Designs

Pollinator Pockets – designs for small (4’x6’) native plant gardens

Prairie Moon Nursery-How to Grow a Native Prairie from Seed

Wild Ones – Native Garden Designs

Local Native Plant Lists, IDs, & Info

Please note the links are offered as options, but are not endorsements.

Illinois Wildflowers

Minnesota Wildflowers

National Wildlife Federation - Native Plant Finder

Pollinator Partnership – Native Plants for Gardens

Prairie Moon Nursery - Native plant information

Sources to Buy Native Plants

Please note the links are offered as options, but are not endorsements.

Douglas-Hart Nature Center (local Spring sale)

Grand Prairie Friends (local Spring sale)

Possibility Place Nursery (mail order or local pickup in Monee, IL)

Prairie Moon Nursery (mail order)

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