A Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar on my Tuliptree

Chokeberry in December

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Plants for Raising Caterpillars

Plants that attract adult butterflies are helpful for bringing butterflies into your garden, but they will stay and can be seen in greater numbers if you provide some of these plants where their caterpillars will thrive. Be careful not to inadvertently kill the caterpillars.

  • Aster (Aster ericoides & others), perennial
  • Butterflyweed & Milkweeds (Asclepias tuberosa & others), perennial
  • Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia & A. melanocarpa), small shrub
  • Crabapple (Malus species & selections), tree
  • Dogwood (Cornus species), trees & shrubs
  • Dutchmans Pipe (Aristolachia macrophylla), vine
  • Fennell, Parsley, Dill, herbs
  • Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), large tree
  • Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), shrub
  • Native Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolum, dentatum, cassinoides, nudum, acerifolium), shrub
  • Native Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana), shrub
  • Pawpaw (Asimina triloba), small tree or large shrub
  • Pine (Pinus strobus and others), evergreen tree
  • Redbud (Cercis canadensis), small tree
  • Serviceberry/Shadblow (Amelanchier canadensis, arborea or laevis), small tree
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzion), shrub
  • Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), small tree
  • Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera), large tree
  • Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), perennial
  • Violets (Viola sororia and others), perennial


Some helpful books:

  • Butterflies of Delmarva by Elton N. Woodbury
  • Caterpillars of Eastern North America by David L. Wagner
  • Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy

Additional images

A Buckeye on wild Aster

Common Milkweed, a favorite of Monarch caterpillars

Dutchman's Pipe is a favorite of the Pipevine Swallowtail

Black Swallowtail caterpillars love parsley, dill and fennel

Blueberry flowers

Blackhaw Viburnum (V. prunifolium) in flower

Serviceberry fruit

Flower of the Tuliptree



Violets are the only caterpillar food for several species of