13 Plants That Attract Caterpillars 2024 | Advice Category

If you’re a fan of butterflies, attracting caterpillars to your garden is crucial. These delightful creatures transform from crawling caterpillars to graceful butterflies, and by planting specific plants, you can create a haven for them. In this article, we’ll explore 13 plants that are known to attract caterpillars.

1. Milkweed (Asclepias)

Milkweed is a must-have plant for any caterpillar enthusiast. It’s the main food source for monarch butterflies and is sure to attract caterpillars of all kinds. Planting milkweed in your garden not only supports caterpillar populations but also helps conserve monarch butterfly populations.

“Milkweed is a must-have plant for any caterpillar enthusiast.”

2. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

Parsley is a favorite food of swallowtail caterpillars. The black swallowtail, in particular, loves to feast on parsley leaves. Planting this herb in your garden will not only add flavor to your dishes but also attract these beautiful caterpillars.

3. Dill (Anethum graveolens)

Similar to parsley, dill is another herb that attracts caterpillars. It is the primary food source for the eastern black swallowtail butterfly. By planting dill in your garden, you’ll have the pleasure of watching these caterpillars munch on the leaves before transforming into stunning butterflies.

4. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel is a perennial herb that has a licorice-like flavor and attracts caterpillars of various butterfly species. Swallowtail caterpillars, in particular, are attracted to fennel. The plant’s feathery fronds provide shelter and food for the caterpillars, making it a fantastic addition to any garden.

Plants That Attract Caterpillars 2024 Advice Category [Updated]

Plants That Attract Caterpillars 2024   Advice Category [Updated]

Attracting caterpillars to your garden can be beneficial not only for the caterpillars themselves but also for the overall biodiversity of your outdoor space. Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths, and by providing them with a food source, you are creating a habitat that supports the complete life cycle of these insects. Below are 13 plants that are known to attract caterpillars.



Milkweed is a popular choice for attracting caterpillars, particularly the Monarch butterfly caterpillars. These plants provide essential food for Monarch caterpillars, and by planting them, you are helping to support this iconic species.



Parsley is a host plant for the Black Swallowtail caterpillar. By growing parsley in your garden, you can help provide a food source for these beautiful caterpillars.

Other plants that attract caterpillars include dill, fennel, and carrots, which are also favored by the Black Swallowtail caterpillar.



Nettle is a host plant for several species of caterpillars, including the Red Admiral and Comma butterflies. While nettle may have a reputation for causing stings, it is an important plant for caterpillar foraging and should be considered for your garden if you want to attract these species.

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Willow trees are known to attract the Mourning Cloak caterpillar. These caterpillars feed on the leaves of willow trees, making them a great addition to any garden or outdoor space.

Other plants that caterpillars love include violets, clover, and sunflowers. These plants provide important nectar and food sources for a variety of caterpillar species.


When attracting caterpillars to your garden, it’s essential to consider the plants you choose and the potential impact they may have on other plants or areas of your garden. Some caterpillars can be voracious feeders, so it’s important to manage their populations carefully to prevent damage to other plants.


By planting caterpillar-friendly plants in your garden, you can create an environment that supports the complete life cycle of butterflies and moths. Not only do these plants attract caterpillars, but they also provide important food sources for adult butterflies and pollinators. So why not add some of these plants to your garden and enjoy the wonders of nature?

Importance of Attracting Caterpillars

Importance of Attracting Caterpillars

Caterpillars play a crucial role in the ecosystem as they serve as a primary food source for many species. By attracting caterpillars to your garden, you are creating a favorable environment for these important creatures.

Caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths. When they visit your garden, they will eventually transform into these beautiful flying insects, enhancing the beauty and diversity of your outdoor space.

Attracting caterpillars can also help you maintain a balanced ecosystem. Many birds rely on caterpillars as a main source of food, especially during the nesting season when they need a high protein diet to feed their chicks. By providing a habitat that attracts caterpillars, you are indirectly supporting bird populations and contributing to biodiversity.

In addition to being a vital food source for other species, caterpillars also play a key role in pollination. As they move from plant to plant, they transfer pollen, helping to fertilize flowers and promote plant reproduction. By attracting caterpillars, you are indirectly supporting the pollination process and helping your garden thrive.

Caterpillars also have a fascinating ability to recycle organic matter. As they consume leaves and other plant parts, they break them down into simpler nutrients that can be absorbed by the soil. This contributes to the overall health of your garden and supports nutrient cycling.

Overall, attracting caterpillars to your garden is beneficial for both the environment and your outdoor space. It creates a harmonious ecosystem, promotes biodiversity, supports bird populations, aids in pollination, and enhances the overall health and vitality of your garden.

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Types of Caterpillars to Attract

Types of Caterpillars to Attract

To create a diverse and thriving caterpillar population in your garden, it’s important to attract a variety of caterpillar species. Here are some types of caterpillars that you can attract with specific plants:

1. Monarch caterpillars: These caterpillars are attracted to milkweed plants. Plant different types of milkweed, such as common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), to provide a food source for monarch caterpillars.

2. Eastern black swallowtail caterpillars: These caterpillars feed on plants in the carrot family, such as dill (Anethum graveolens) and fennel (Foeniculum vulgare).

3. Pipevine swallowtail caterpillars: Pipevine swallowtail caterpillars are attracted to pipevine plants. Plant pipevine (Aristolochia spp.) to provide a host plant for these caterpillars.

4. Spicebush swallowtail caterpillars: These caterpillars are attracted to spicebush plants. Plant spicebush (Lindera benzoin) to attract spicebush swallowtail caterpillars.

5. Cabbage white caterpillars: Cabbage white caterpillars are attracted to plants in the cabbage family, such as cabbage (Brassica oleracea) and kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica).

6. Black swallowtail caterpillars: These caterpillars feed on plants in the carrot family, such as parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and queen anne’s lace (Daucus carota).

7. Painted lady caterpillars: Painted lady caterpillars are attracted to a wide variety of plants, including thistles (Cirsium spp.), hollyhocks (Alcea spp.), and sunflowers (Helianthus spp.).

8. Giant swallowtail caterpillars: These caterpillars feed on plants in the citrus family, such as citrus trees (Citrus spp.) and prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum).

9. Eastern tiger swallowtail caterpillars: These caterpillars are attracted to plants in the rose family, such as wild cherry (Prunus avium) and black cherry (Prunus serotina).

10. Buckeye caterpillars: Buckeye caterpillars are attracted to plants in the snapdragon family, such as snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) and toadflax (Linaria spp.).

11. Red admiral caterpillars: Red admiral caterpillars are attracted to nettles (Urtica spp.), so consider planting stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) to attract them.

12. Blue morpho caterpillars: Blue morpho caterpillars are attracted to various tropical tree species, such as the Cecropia tree (Cecropia spp.) and the Monkey ladder tree (Pseudobombax spp.).

13. Luna moth caterpillars: Luna moth caterpillars feed on the leaves of various tree species, including birch trees (Betula spp.) and persimmon trees (Diospyros spp.).

By planting these specific plants in your garden, you can create a caterpillar-friendly environment and enjoy the beauty of butterflies and moths throughout their life cycle.

Butterfly-Friendly Plants

Butterfly-Friendly Plants

Butterflies are not only beautiful creatures, but they also play a vital role in pollination. If you want to attract more butterflies to your garden, consider planting these butterfly-friendly plants:

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1. Milkweed (Asclepias)

Milkweed is a must-have plant for attracting monarch butterflies. Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed plants, and it is also a source of food for their caterpillars.

2. Butterfly Bush (Buddleja)

As the name suggests, butterfly bush is a favorite of butterflies. It produces fragrant flowers that attract a wide variety of butterfly species.

3. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)

Purple coneflower is not only a beautiful plant, but it also attracts butterflies. Its vibrant and colorful flowers make it a magnet for these lovely creatures.

4. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

Black-eyed Susan is not only a favorite of butterflies, but it also attracts other beneficial insects, such as bees and ladybugs.

5. Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium)

Joe-Pye weed is a tall plant with beautiful pink flowers. It attracts both butterflies and bees, making it a great addition to any butterfly garden.

6. Liatris (Blazing Star)

Liatris is a stunning perennial plant with spiky purple flowers. It is highly attractive to butterflies and other pollinators.

7. Zinnia

Zinnias are easy to grow and come in a variety of colors. They are popular among butterflies and can add a splash of vibrant color to your garden.

8. Verbena

Verbena produces clusters of bright flowers that butterflies find irresistible. It is a low-maintenance plant and suitable for container gardens as well.

9. Aster

Asters are late-season bloomers and provide an important source of nectar for butterflies migrating in the fall. Choose native asters for best results.

10. Marigold

Marigolds not only repel pests but also attract butterflies. They have vibrant, colorful flowers that brighten up any garden.

11. Lantana

Lantana is a heat-tolerant plant with clusters of flowers in various shades. It is a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds.

12. Sedum (Stonecrop)

Sedum is a succulent plant that butterflies love. It has clusters of tiny flowers and is known to attract a variety of butterfly species.

13. Phlox

Phlox comes in a range of colors and is a magnet for butterflies. Planting different varieties of phlox can attract a wide array of butterfly species.

By planting these butterfly-friendly plants in your garden, you can create a welcoming habitat for butterflies and enjoy their beauty and the benefits they bring. Remember to provide them with a water source and avoid using pesticides to ensure their survival.


Which plants are best for attracting caterpillars?

There are several plants that are known to attract caterpillars. Some popular choices include milkweed, dill, fennel, parsley, and asters. These plants provide food and shelter for caterpillars, making them a great addition to any garden or outdoor space.

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How do these plants attract caterpillars?

Plants that attract caterpillars typically have leaves that caterpillars eat, as well as flowers that provide nectar for adult butterflies. Caterpillars are attracted to these plants because they provide a reliable source of food and shelter. Additionally, some plants release chemicals that caterpillars can detect, which further draws them in.

How can I incorporate these plants into my garden?

If you want to attract caterpillars to your garden, you can start by planting a variety of host plants that caterpillars prefer. These plants should be placed in areas where caterpillars can easily access them, such as sunny spots with plenty of open space. It’s also a good idea to provide some shelter for caterpillars, such as brush or plant debris, so they have a safe place to hide.

Are there any downsides to attracting caterpillars?

While attracting caterpillars can be beneficial for butterflies and other pollinators, there are a few potential downsides to consider. Some caterpillars can be destructive to plants, especially in large numbers. Additionally, caterpillars can attract predators, such as birds and wasps, which may also cause damage to your garden. It’s important to weigh these potential risks before deciding to attract caterpillars to your garden.


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Noah Thompson

I found this article about plants that attract caterpillars really interesting. As someone who enjoys gardening and observing wildlife, I appreciate the idea of creating a welcoming environment for caterpillars. It’s fascinating to learn about the specific plants that caterpillars are drawn to, such as milkweed, parsley, and dill. I’ve always thought of caterpillars as cute and harmless creatures, but it’s great to know that by attracting them to our gardens, we can also play a part in supporting the butterfly population. The article provides informative descriptions and even includes tips on how to care for these plants. I’m definitely going to consider planting some of these varieties in my garden to not only enjoy the beautiful butterflies that will come, but also to contribute to the ecosystem in a positive way. Overall, a well-written and informative article for anyone interested in gardening and attracting caterpillars.


I absolutely love the article on “13 Plants That Attract Caterpillars 2024 Advice Category”! As a nature enthusiast, I find it fascinating to learn about the different ways we can attract caterpillars to our gardens. These beautiful creatures play a crucial role in the life cycle of butterflies, and it’s incredible to witness their transformation right in our own backyard. The article provides a comprehensive list of plants that caterpillars are attracted to, allowing us to create a welcoming environment for these little creatures. I particularly enjoyed learning about the specific types of caterpillars that are associated with each plant. It’s like having a personalized guide to caterpillar spotting! I was delighted to see that the article also includes tips on how to care for these plants and create a caterpillar-friendly habitat. The suggestions to provide shelter, water, and avoid using pesticides are valuable reminders for any aspiring caterpillar enthusiast. Additionally, the article is beautifully illustrated with vibrant images of both the plants and caterpillars. It adds a visual element that truly enhances the reading experience. Overall, this article not only educates us on the types of plants that attract caterpillars but also encourages us to create a haven for these fascinating creatures. I can’t wait to start incorporating these plants into my own garden and witness the magic of caterpillar transformation firsthand. Thank you for this informative and inspiring article!

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Эмилия Белл

I found this article very interesting as I love gardening and attracting wildlife to my backyard. It’s great to know which plants can attract caterpillars, as they are an essential part of the ecosystem and also a food source for birds and other animals. I appreciate the suggestions given in the article, such as milkweed, parsley, and dill, as these are plants I already have in my garden. I will definitely consider adding some of the other recommended plants like asters and violets to further attract caterpillars. It’s wonderful to be able to support the life cycle of butterflies by providing them with the plants they need to lay their eggs and for their caterpillars to feed on. Overall, a very informative and helpful article for anyone interested in creating a butterfly-friendly garden.


Wow, this article on “13 Plants That Attract Caterpillars” is just what I needed! As a gardening enthusiast, I’m always looking for ways to attract more biodiversity into my yard. I never really thought about caterpillars before, but now I realize how important they are for the ecosystem. The list of plants mentioned in the article is fantastic; I can’t wait to start incorporating them into my garden. I’m particularly excited about planting milkweed for monarch caterpillars and parsley for swallowtails. It’s amazing how such small creatures can have such a significant impact on the environment. This article has inspired me to do my part in supporting these beautiful insects and their life cycle. Thank you for sharing this valuable information!

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