Bronze copper – butterflies – in lowland tallgrass prairie.  Hall County, Nebraska.  Central Platte River.

Backyard Butterfly Gardens: Nature’s Rest Stops

Photo © The Nature Conservancy (Chris Helzer)

Butterflies are beautiful backyard visitors. Below, use Habitat Network’s resources to discover ways you can support butterflies and connect to other citizen scientists who are providing habitat for these important pollinators.

From left to right: Baltimore checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton); cloudless sulphur (Phoebis sennae), Texas; red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) Illinois.

Butterfly collage 1

Photo © The Nature Conservancy

Learn Articles

The following are a list of articles relevant to butterflies and creating habitat for them. Click on the titles of interest to read more.

From left to right: orange sulphur (Colias eurytheme), Nebraska; eastern tailed blue (Cupido comyntas), Indiana; American painted lady (Vanessa virginiensis).

Butterfly collage2

Photo © The Nature Conservancy

Project Tools

Planning Tool: Once you create an account with Habitat Network and start mapping, our Planning Tool will analyze your map and help guide you in meeting goals (like Supporting Pollinators). The tool will tell you what you are already doing for pollinators and provide you with ideas of other actions to take, or habitat features to add to improve your efforts.

Local Resources: If you live in the United States, on the Local Resources Page, you can type in your zip code and receive immediate information on your ecoregion. The tool also presents you with a pollinator planting guide that has information on native plants to consider having in your landscape to support the butterflies that depend on them. If you live in Canada, go directly to the Pollinator Partnership Planting Guides and type in the first three digits of your zip code.


Photo © Glenn Marsch, Colleen Prieto, The Nature Conservancy (Raymond Auger)

Engage with maps: Using our mapping tool, you can identify maps that have essential, regional, host plants for butterflies. Many butterflies have co-evolved with native plants and use only a certain species or family of plants for laying their eggs. For example, spicebush swallowtail (Papilio troilus) requires a member of the Lindera genus, or spicebush shrub for reproduction. Pictured above is a map in Connecticut that has identified spicebush as one of the plants in their landscape, thus they are likely to receive a visit from beautiful spicebush swallowtails.

Connect with others

Pollinator Group on Habitat Network: Consider joining +100 other mappers from all over the United States and Canada who are interested in creating habitat for pollinators. This group will help answer questions and provide ideas for your pollinator gardens. You can also view the maps of others who have pollinator gardens. To join a group on Habitat Network, you must create a map first.
Join Pollinator Group

Pictured is a Habitat Network map that has Allegheny monkeyflower (Mimulus ringens), which is a host plant for the caterpillar of the common buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia).

Common Buckeye

Photo © The Nature Conservancy (Chris Helzer) , Lori Carlson

Pollinator Group on Facebook: During the spring of 2018, Habitat Network ran a campaign to encourage people to create pollinator gardens. As a part of this campaign we created what has become a very active group (+1,200 members) on Facebook called Pitch in a Patch for Pollinators. If you are looking for inspiration, consider joining this Facebook group of people from all over the United States and Canada who are creating habitat for pollinators.
Join Facebook Group

Planting for butterflies is a FUN & REWARDING challenge!
Let Habitat Network help guide and inspire you on how to create habitat for these important pollinators.