Nothing makes me smile more than going out into my garden and seeing Swallowtail butterflies feasting on the nectar of plants in my garden beds.
Swallowtail butterflies are very large, and colorful butterflies in the family Papilionidae. The family is large and includes over 500 species. The majority of the butterflies are tropical but you can find them on almost eery continent. I am very lucky to have them as common visitors in my garden.
With such a gorgeous butterfly, it stands to reason that the caterpillar would be showy too!
This swallowtail caterpillar loves to feast on any of the carrot family plants, such as dill, parsley, fennel and others. While you may not enjoy him devouring these plants, he needs to grow and feed to become gorgeous like the photos below.
If you would like to attract Swallowtails to your garden, try growing some of these nectar plants:
- Purple cone flowers
- Moss Verbena
- Butterfly Bush
- Globe Thistle
- Even roses attract them to my garden!
This dark morph tiger swallowtail is very fond of my zinnias! This guy has a yen for the yellow ones!
What a beauty! A Grand Canyon Swallowtail feasting on a thistle flower. Try globe thistles to attract them to your garden.A twofer! This time it is more Black Morph tiger swallowtails. Orange is his color choice today!
This lighter colored Tiger Swallowtail is attracted to the vibrant colors of the Lantana plant.
Not normally known for attracting Swallowtails, my roses don’t seem to follow the rules. This swallowtail is very happy feasting on the center of the pale pink rose!
If you want butterflies, (and not just swallowtails) in your garden, be sure to plant Buddleia, commonly known as Butterfly bushes. There is hardly a day that goes buy in the summer when I don’t have a dozen or so in my front garden bed.
Purple cone flowers will attract Swallowtails as well as bees. Be sure to leave the spent flowers when they are done. The birds love them too!
If you live in a planting zone where lilacs grow well, you will be graced by swallowtails in search of their nectar. They don’t grow so well for me here in NC but I live in hope!
Even certain succulents will attract swallowtails. This variety is Sedum spurium “dragons blood”.
How majestic is this pairing? A huge butterfly needs a huge flower after all! This female swallowtail has the perfect markings for this flower. No wonder she is so attracted to it!
This Gorgeous swallowtail is attracted to a Vitex, also known as Chaste Tree, common in zones 7 and cooler.
Another pretty tiger swallowtail. This time he is feeding on a bright purple blossom of the butterfly bush (buddleia.)
This tattered old Black swallowtail looks as though he has been around for a while. He is feeding on a homestead verbena.
Do you get a lot of swallowtails in your garden? What plants attract them there? Please leave our comments below.
If Monarchs are your thing, check out my tips for attracting monarch butterflies.