Worldwide, in temperate and tropical climates
Butterflies come in many bright colours and patterns, but all of them are the adult form of a leaf-eating caterpillar. One species commonly seen in gardens – the cabbage white butterfly – is also a major pest, because the larvae feed on cabbages and other brassicas. However, the larvae of most other common butterflies feed on trees or non-crop plants, so their presence is welcome in the garden.
Butterflies help pollinate some crops when they visit open flowers to sip nectar.
Food and Habitat:
All butterflies require specific host plants for their young, which varies with species. Butterfly larvae feed on plants, but the adults require flower nectar to keep them going.
You can increase the diversity of butterflies in your garden by growing larval host plants including nettles, holly, and thistles. Find room for the tall, arching shrub Buddleia (commonly and very aptly known as the 'butterfly bush') and nectar-rich annual flowers that bloom in late summer like cosmos and zinnias, both butterfly favourites.