DebraLee Wiseberg / Getty Images Plants that attract butterflies — and plants that encourage pollinators in general — play a pivotal role in the ecosystem. Of the 1,400 crop plants grown around the world (including all of our food and plant-based industrial products) almost 80% require pollination by insects and animals. Finding the right combination of plants to attract butterflies starts with accommodating the caterpillar stage of their life cycle, when their primary activity is eating. Different types of butterflies feed on different plants, so planting a wide range in your garden is best, and likely to also attract other pollinators. Read on to discover 30 different plants that attract butterflies. What Do Butterflies Eat? The butterfly life cycle has four stages, beginning with eggs that hatch to release caterpillars, or larvae, that eat almost constantly and grow rapidly until the third stage, the pupa. The larvae of many butterflies aren’t particular about what they eat, and enjoy a variety of herbaceous plants, but some are picky, including the celebrated monarch, whose larvae only eat milkweed. Black swallowtail larvae eat the leaves of dill, parsley, carrot, and fennel, while painted lady larvae enjoy thistle leaves. Once they reach adulthood, […]

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