The best way to do this is to supply butterflies with an assortment of plants that are attractive to butterflies native to your area. Don’t just go to the local big-box retailer and buy anything with the word”butterfly” in it. Do some basic research for yourself, which is quite easy to do online, and you will fare much better.
The first thing you need to do is assess which sort of environment you might have. Is your lawn wooded, or mostly a garden type? Some butterflies will only go to a particular type of environment, and regardless of what plants you have, they won’t go to them if they are not in the right location.
The next step is to do an internet search for your county or city, and see what butterflies are commonly found there. As soon as you do so, cross-reference that information with the sort of environment you have (woody, garden, etc.. .) . Most often times lists such as that will also record the host plant of the butterfly, but if not, you can search for this too.
Once you find out the species of butterflies that are native to your area, the next thing you want to do is find out what sort of plants these butterflies are drawn to. Butterflies use two types of plants – a host plant, and a nectar plant. A host plant is the type of plant that they will lay their eggs on. The nectar plant is a type of plant that the adult butterflies will feed off of. Normally butterflies will have a large variety of nectar plants from which they will feed, but only 1 host plant that they will use to deposit their eggs. The monarch butterfly, for example, will feed from many different type of nectar plants (lantana, periwinkle, pentas, etc.. .) But only have a single host plant, that’s the milkweed. The monarch butterfly will only lay their eggs on a milkweed plant, because that’s the only plant which their larvae (caterpillars) can eat.
To draw the most butterflies to your yard, you may have an assortment of nectar plants, but it’s most important to have the host plants. You will find, by planting many of the host plants together, you’ll draw a great deal of species of butterfly.