I recently visited the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy. It is the best butterfly garden I have visited – and I’ve been to quite a few.
The butterfly house was stocked full of flowering plants, a large variety of butterfly species (around 50 or 60), and even some really cool tropical birds.
Magnificent Owl Butterfly
Some of the plants in the Conservatory are common backyard plants that gardeners can use to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. While you can’t get tropical butterflies to come to your yard (speaking to those of us who aren’t in the tropics), you can plant butterfly attracting plants to get the local butterfly species to come around.
We have specifically selected butterfly and hummingbird-attracting plants and host plants for the front yard. Some of these include
- Butterfly weed
- Butterfly bush
- Native honeysuckle
- Cross vine
Our yard has hosted monarch butterflies and caterpillars, Gulf fritillaries, red-spotted purple butterflies, hackberry emperor butterflies, black swallowtails, sulfur butterflies, and more.
The year that we had monarch caterpillars, we had planted lots of milkweed and butterfly weed which the caterpillars feed on.