The Ticket to a Front Row Seat Watching Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar's Become Butterflies
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
Or Why Pollinator Gardens Need Native Host Plants
The people who tell me their pollinator garden doesn't need native plants invariably follow up by pointing out how much the butterflies just adore their butterfly bushes.
I scream a little inside my head and take a few yoga breathes to stop myself from launching into a lecture about why butterfly bushes are not only relatively useless plants in a yard's natural ecosystem, but how they are also an invasive non-native species. I remind myself that fairly recently my own gardening journey also included multiple butterfly bushes.
My goal is to move the needle on eco-friendly landscaping, so I explain there will be even more butterflies in their garden if they plant native host plants for butterflies to lay eggs on. Stories about the overabundance of gulf fritillary butterflies in all stages of the life cycle in my yard neatly illustrate my point.
When I find a chrysalis in my yard it brings me right back to the excitement I felt in my 2nd grade science classroom when I first watched monarch caterpillars in an aquarium going through metamorphosis. This sense of wonder is possible for anyone who chooses to plant native host plants in their yard; it's a win-win for both man and nature.