What is a Native Plant?

Native plants can be defined as those that naturally occur in the region in which they evolved. They are adapted to local climate and soil conditions and, as a result, provide the most sustainable habitats.

Why are Native Plants Important?

Native plants play a crucial role in our local ecosystems by supporting pollinators such as birds, bees, and butterflies. Additionally, natives provide necessary food and shelter for wildlife. Unlike native plants, exotic plants do not offer the same energetic rewards for their visitors and disrupt the natural food web. In some cases, non-native plants can become invasive, out-competing native plants and further degrading natural habitats.

What are the benefits of Native Plants?

  • Native plants require fewer fertilizers and pesticides
  • Native plants require less watering
  • Native plants assist in preventing soil erosion
  • Native plants help reduce air pollution
  • Native plants provide food and shelter to local wildlife
  • Native plants support pollinators
  • Native plants promote biodiversity
  • Native plants preserve natural heritage



What is a Host Plant?

A host plant is a plant that butterflies lay their eggs on. They lay their eggs on specific plants that they know their caterpillars will be able to eat. Butterfly host plants can also be called larval host plants or caterpillar host plants. Many of the 500 species of butterflies in the US rely on a small group of host plants for their eggs. For example, Monarchs only use Milkweeds as their host plant, Pipevine Swallowtails use pipevines, and Gulf Fritillaries use passionflower. Host plants play a critical role during the caterpillar stage and begins the lifecycle of the butterflies. If at all possible choose native host plants for your garden.



What is a Nectar Plant?

Nectar plants and host plants aren’t necessarily the same thing. While both are important butterfly plants, nectar plants provide food for adult butterflies. They come to these flowering plants to drink the nectar. Host plants provide the food for caterpillars. Again, you should always choose to plant native nectar and host plants. Native plants are tied to the lifecycle of numerous butterflies.