Florida Butterfly Gardening


Do you enjoy nature around your home?

Butterfly gardening brings butterflies to your doorstep.

Luxurious foliage and bright flowers attractive to butterflies fill your yard.

Native plants enhance the microcommunity in your landscape for butterflies, birds, and other wildlife.

How To Garden For Butterflies

Butterflies are attracted to nectar sources, or flowers that provide them with food. Nectar plants attract butterflies from the habitat that surrounds you.

Caterpillars, which metamorphose into butterflies, require special kinds of plants to feed upon.  These are called hostplants.  The food plants produce butterflies, and serve as their habitat.

Native plants, when put in a microsite suitable to their adaptations, will do extraordinarily well, require very little care, and will attract and produce numerous butterflies.

You can even set up a butterfly garden in a container on your patio!  Plant these plants, and the butterflies will come.

Once your butterfly garden is set up, get to know their fascinating behavior and how they interact with other animals and the plants they depend upon.  Here are some special ways to enjoy your butterfly garden.

Get the book that tells it all, Florida Butterfly Gardening

Find out about butterfly gardening workshops and lectures near you.

Butterfly Nectar Sources

Native Plants

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)
Asimina reticulata (Flatwoods Pawpaw).
Zebra Swallowtail.
Bidens alba var. radiata  (Spanish Needles)
Hamelia patens (Firebush)
Phyla nodiflora (Carpetweed, Cape Weed, Matchheads, Creeping Charlie, or Lippia).  Common Buckeye and Phaon Crescent host plant.
Prunus umbellata (Flatwoods Plum)
Vaccinium myrsinites (Shiny-leaved Blueberry)

...and many more!!

 Exotic Plants


Buddleya or Butterfly Bush
Tithonia or Mexican Sunflower
Glandularia or moss verbena

Butterfly Hostplants

Agalinis fasciculata (Cluster-Leaf Gerardia or False Foxglove) for Common Buckeye.
Asclepias or milkweed for Monarchs and Queens
Asclepias curtissii (Curtiss’ Milkweed)
Asclepias humistrata (Sandhill Milkweed)
Asclepias tomentosa (Velvet Leaf Milkweed)
Aristolochia or Dutchmen's Pipe for Polydamus and Pipevile Swallowtails
Beans for Long-Tailed Skippers
Canna for Canna Skippers
Canna flaccida is our native species with yellow flowers.
Cassia for Sulphur butterflies
Cassia fasciculata (Partridge Pea) is a host plant for Little Sulphur, Cloudless Sulphur, Ceraunus Blue, and Gray Hairstreak.
Hackberry, Celtis laevigata (or Sugarberry) is a hostplant for the Snout Butterfly, Questionmark, Hackberry Butterfly, and Tawny Emperor.
Carrot family plants for Black Swallowtails (dill, parsley, and see our native Ptilimnium)
Passiflora or passionvine for Heliconians
Passiflora incarnata (Maypop) is a host plant for the Gulf Fritillary, Julia, Zebra Long Wing, and Variegated Fritillary.
Passiflora multiflora (Many Flowered Passion Flower) is good for the Gulf Fritillary, Julia, Zebra Long Wing, and Variegated Fritillary.
Passiflora suberosa (Corky-Stemmed Passion Flower) hosts the Gulf Fritillary, Julia, Zebra Long Wing, and Variegated Fritillary.
Persea or Bay trees for Palamedes and Spicebush Swallowtails
Persea borbonia (
Red Bay).
Silk Bay (Persea humilis).
Swamp Bay (Persea palustris).
Phyla nodiflora (Carpetweed, Cape Weed, Matchheads, Creeping Charlie, or Lippia).  In addition to being a ground cover with an excellent source of nectar, lippis hosts the Common Buckeye and Phaon Crescent.
Citrus plants for Giant Swallowtails, and also our native plants,
Zanthoxylum clava-herculis (Hercules Club, Toothache Tree).

Zanthoxylum fagara (Wild Lime).

...and many more!!

Other Ways to Enhance a Butterfly Garden

Fruit plates
Mudpuddling sites
Sunny locations
Don't use pesticides!

Some Special Ways to Enjoy Your Butterfly Garden

Zebra butterfly larva Caterpillar of the zebra butterfly

Butterfly Gardening Workshops

Dr. Minno offers workshops on butterfly gardening at various locations around the Southeastern US.   If you would like to know his current schedule, or are interested in setting up a workshop, contact the Minno's at minno@gator.net.

The Book

Florida Butterfly Gardening, by Marc and Maria Minno, is the definitive book on butterfly gardening in Florida, useful throughout the southern United States.  To order, contact the University Press of Florida, 15 NW 15th Street, Gainesville, FL 32603, (352)392-1351.

Florida Butterfly Gardening is the only complete guide to butterfly gardening in North America, covering butterflies, gardening, and hands-on science activities for Florida and the southern US.   No other book  illustrates the caterpillars, chrysalids, and host plants for over 60 species of butterflies.  Florida Butterfly Gardening is the first accurate guide to nectar plants and larval host plants, based on over 15 years of research in Florida.

If you have questions about butterfly gardening in Florida, ask Dr. Marc Minno.
You can reach Dr. Minno by e-mail at: minno@gator.net.

 All photos and information on this website are copyright Marc and Maria Minno.

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