Attracting Butterflies to the Garden...

Butterfly gardening is both therapeutic and environmentally friendly. It's also a great lesson on plant-insect interactivity for children of all ages. Butterflies, like all living creatures, need to be conserved and protected, but many species are endangered because their habitats are being constantly destroyed. You'll rid your garden of butterflies if you use toxic chemicals. The presence of butterflies in a garden is a sign of a pesticide-free environment.

A butterfly garden should provide variety, and cater to both adult butterflies and their larvae. In other words, nectar and larval host (caterpillar food) plants are the key to a successful garden. Many butterflies are also attracted to rotting fruit and water sources in the area.

Here's a simple list of plants that can easily be found locally; some are food for caterpillars and places for butterflies to lay their eggs (host plants), and some are nectar plants that provide food for adult butterflies:

A. Guide to some butterfly NECTAR sources:

Botanical Name

Common Name Used by these Butterflies:
Aloysia gratissima Bee brush  
Antigon leptopus Coral vine  
Asclepias curassavica Asclepias  
Asclepias nivea White Asclepias  
Chrysobalanos icaco cocoplum, icacos  
Cuphea hyssopifolia False Heather (cufea)  
Duranta repens Golden Dew Drop  
Hibiscus spp. Hibiscus, hibiscos  
Ipomoea spp. Morning Glory  
Ixora spp Ixora, Cruz de Malta  
Jathropha integerrima Jatrofa  
Lantana camara Lantana, cariaquillo  
Lonicera spp. Honeysuckle, madreselva  
Odontonema strictum Fire spike  
Pentas lanceolata Pentas  
Poinsettia pulcherrima Poinsettia, Pascua  
Ruellia brittoniana Mexican petunia, ruelia  
Ruellia nudiflora Violet Ruellia  
Salvia coccinea Sage, salvia  
Senecio confusis Flave vine, senecio  
Stachytarpheta urticifolia Porterweed, verbena  
Tithonia diversifolia Mexican sunflower  
Zinnia elegans Zinnia  

B. Guide to some caterpillar (or larval) FOOD PLANTS


Botanical Name

Common Name Used by these Butterflies
Annona muricata Soursop, guanábana Zebra Swallowtail
Aristolochia elegans Calico flower Polydamas Swallowtail
Asclepias curassavica Milkweed, Asclepias Monarch
Bidens spp Spanish Needles Dainty Sulphur
Canna indica Canna, maracas Brazilian Skipper
Carica papaya Papaya  
Cassia alata (Senna alata) Candlestick Plant Cloudless & Orange-barred Sulphurs
Cassia fistula Golden showers  
Cassia javanica Pink Cassia Orange-barred Sulphur
Cinnamomum camphora Camphor tree, alcanfor Spicebush Swallowtail
Citrus aurantifolia Lemon tree, limón Giant Swallowtail
Citrus sinensis Orange tree, chinas Anise & Giant Swallowtails
Cocos nucifera Coconut, coco de agua  
Cocothrinax argentata Florida Silver Palm Monk Skipper
Dypsis lutescens Areca Palm  
Ficus benjamina Weeping fig Ruddy Daggerwing
Foenicum vulgare Fennel, anís Anise & Black Swallowtails
Guajacum sanctum Lignum Vitae, Guayacán Lyside Sulphur
Laurus nobilis Sweet Bay tree, laurel  
Murraya paniculata Orange jasmine Giant Swallowtail
Passiflora incarnata Maypop Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Longwing
Plumbago auriculata Leadwort, plumbago Cassius Blue
Plumeria spp Plumeria, frangipani  
Ruta graveolens Rue, ruda Black & Giant Swallowtails
Stachytarpheta jamaicensis Blue Porterweed Tropical Buckeye
Tecoma stans Yellow Bells, Sauco  
Thrinax morrisii Thatch Palm Monk Skipper
Thrinax radiata Florida Thatch Palm Monk Skipper
Yucca aloifolia Spanish dagger  
Zamia pumila Zamia Atala
Zea mays Corn, maíz  
  Plantain Buckeye
  Sunflower Painted Lady
  Nettles Question Mark, Red Admiral

*Plants of Asclepias curassavica (Milkweed) of several colors are sometimes available for sale. Price  starts at $5.00 for plants in 1 gal pots. Asclepias are the only food source for Monarch caterpillars. We also sell seeds of white, scarlet, orange, tangerine, and yellow Asclepias. These can be shipped worldwide. Please check our "Seeds" page for details on available seeds and methods of purchase.

Vivero Anones, Inc.
Tel (787) 827-3121 (evenings)