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Where Do Butterflies Lay Their Eggs? (Including Various Species)

Where Do Butterflies Lay Their Eggs? (Including Various Species)

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Many people love being able to see as many butterflies in their garden areas as possible. You likely look forward to the warm months when butterflies will be fluttering around in large numbers.

Of course, most will choose to plant specific types of plants and bushes in their yards to attract more butterflies. This ensures that the butterflies will be keenly interested in your yard.

If you don’t know a lot about butterflies, then you might also be wondering about their eggs. Where do they lay their eggs?

Is there a good way to make butterflies more likely to lay eggs in your bushes or flowers? Read on to learn everything that you need to know about this topic.

How Butterflies Choose Where to Lay Their Eggs

If you ever get the chance to observe butterflies laying eggs, then you’ll see that they take some time to decide where the best spot is. Generally, the butterfly will bounce between different plants and test things out to see if the plant is good enough for the eggs.

Eventually, the butterfly will make a choice, and it’ll go ahead and lay its eggs. You usually find that butterflies lay eggs on the undersides of the leaves.

They will also sometimes choose other spots for the eggs. For example, you might see a butterfly lay eggs under some loose bark somewhere.

There are even situations when butterflies choose to lay eggs in mulch that is near the plants. The egg-laying will be dependent on various factors such as what type of butterfly you’re looking at.

The types of plants that you have in your garden area will also play a role. You should try to put specific plants that butterflies like to lay eggs on in your yard if your goal is to have a butterfly garden.

Butterflies Will Lay Their Eggs on Various Plants

The first thing to know is that butterflies will lay their eggs on various plants. You’re going to need to have some plants that are suitable for butterfly eggs in the garden area if you wish to keep the circle of life going.

As you already know, butterflies lay eggs, and caterpillars are going to come out of those eggs. The caterpillars will need to eat certain plants to survive and gather energy.

Eventually, caterpillars will form cocoons, and they will transform into butterflies. The caterpillars have to survive long enough to make it to the cocoon stage, though.

Having the right plants in your garden will make a huge difference. Some plants are going to be better than others for the purpose of butterfly eggs and caring for caterpillars.

You want to choose plants that will be good for the caterpillars. Below, you’ll find many different options that you can look into for your garden area.

Milkweed Is Needed for Monarch Butterflies

Milkweed will be very attractive plants if you’re seeing a lot of monarch butterflies in your yard. Monarchs tend to like to lay their eggs on or near milkweed plants.

These will make for good sacrificial plants for the caterpillars, too. It won’t matter so much if the caterpillars eat and destroy these plants since you can just keep planting more when the time is right.

Anyone who enjoys monarch butterflies will need to plant milkweed in their yards. You’ll want to have these since they’re the sole host plant for monarchs.

Black Swallowtails Like Many Different Plants

Black swallowtails are going to be far less picky than monarch butterflies. You’ll be able to plant many things that will help these butterflies to lay their eggs.

Planting carrots will be very useful when you want to help black swallowtails lay eggs. You could also choose to plant rue plants in your garden area.

Parsley, dill, and even fennel have been known to be fantastic host plants for black swallowtails. If you’re looking to see more of these butterflies in your yard moving forward, then you have options when selecting host plants.

Tiger Swallowtails Also Have Many Options

Tiger swallowtails also have many options when it comes to host plants. Birch trees and sycamore trees are among the most common hosts for these butterflies.

They also like apple trees, tulip trees, ash, poplar, and even wild cherry. If you have enough space in your garden area for these trees, then they’ll definitely be good at attracting butterflies that want to lay their eggs.

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great spangled fritillary butterflies only have one host plant. You’re going to need to plant violets in your yard if you want them to lay their eggs on your property.

Thankfully, many people absolutely love violets, and it’ll be nice to have them add some color to your gardens. Just remember that the caterpillars are going to munch on the violets.

Cabbage White Butterflies

Cabbage white butterflies like to lay their eggs on nearby cabbages. They will also really like broccoli plants, and you might wish to plant both in your garden to attract these butterflies.

Many gardeners find the caterpillars to be a nuisance when they’re trying to grow broccoli and cabbage. In this situation, you’ll understand that the plants are sacrificial and meant to attract the butterflies to the area.

Painted Lady Butterflies

Painted lady butterflies will lay their eggs on or near plants such as thistle, sunflowers, and hollyhock. Many sunflower enthusiasts would hate the idea of using sunflowers as sacrificial plants to bring more butterflies to a garden.

If you don’t enjoy the idea of sacrificing big and pretty sunflowers, then simply planting thistle will suffice. This will give the caterpillars what they need to survive until they can reach the cocoon stage.

There Are Many Other Butterflies

As you surely know, there are many other butterflies out there to consider. Red admirals like to use nettle as host plants.

American lady butterflies gravitate toward Artemisia. Silvery blue butterflies use lupine plants as hosts for their eggs.

You should try to identify the type of butterflies that you’re seeing in your area. Once you have this information, you can look up the types of plants that they use to lay their eggs.

Then it’s as simple as planting the correct plants in your garden. This will help you to have the butterfly garden of your dreams where you will be able to see many butterflies playfully fluttering around.

What to Expect When the Eggs Hatch

Knowing what to expect when the eggs hatch will be important as well. Caterpillars are going to spend a lot of time eating the leaves of the host plants.

This means that the host plants will be eaten up, and some of them might even die. Host plants are sacrificial in nature when your goal is to keep the caterpillars healthy so that they can become butterflies.

You’ll want to have a balance of host plants and flowers that attract butterflies. This will ensure that you have the best experience when trying to create a butterfly garden.

Hopefully, this information will allow you to determine what you want to do moving forward. You know how butterflies lay their eggs, that they choose specific host plants for the eggs, and that different butterflies have different preferences.

Some butterflies will only lay eggs on specific plants or trees, but others will be less picky. You can now set up your yard based on the types of butterflies that are common in your area.

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Sunday 8th of October 2023

Hi Sarah From your dialogue I guess you are in the USA. I am an older Gent in the UK. I found your research very useful. I live in Essex and our local "Essex wildlife trust" for the County does some rather brutal looking managing. We have a road through a woodland with banks. Obviously (50 year old road near a Newtown ) these banks were probably simply mown for a grass scape ( nice and tidy ). Now they use a system of leave for several years then use a remote control mini bulldozer. I wondered if this total trashing of existing vegetation be it partial i.e alternatate strips could radically damage butterfly populations. This answer being yes. All the grassy plants are wild. Wild carrot , Tansy St John's wort etc etc ..including simple but very varied grasses. I understand the land would turn into scrub woodland if nothing took place but the method appears very destructive. On this land we see all the shy non garden species of butterfly. Obviously it's all down to cost how they manage it but in general question mark's are being raised in the UK about species decline.I am sorry to say the "lesser spotted """""" " butterfly does not even remotely compare to peoples interest in the latest 65 inch TV. If you can understand that. All the Best.