Butterfly Garden Plant Viola species Violet species

Butterfly Garden Plants

Violet species

(Viola species)

General Information
Cultural Requirements
Native Range
Plant Rating
Plant Reviews

General InformationNABA_DividerBar

With over 500 species of violets worldwide and at least 87 species in North America, violets are tough plants that are often considered weeds. While violets can reproduce and survive at an alarming rate, they can be safely included in the garden if you are willing to occasionally tame their numbers with a good garden hoe.

Violets move further from the category of ‘pest’ when butterfly gardeners realize that they are the prime caterpillar host plant for many of the Fritillary butterflies.

Read more about the use of violets for butterfly gardening in a reprint of an article from Butterfly Gardener magazine:

Caterpillar Food Plant: Violets

Importance as a butterfly nectar source:
Violets are not considered a butterfly nectar source.

Importance as a caterpillar food source:
Fritillary caterpillars are often divided into two groups; Greater and Lesser. The Greater Fritillary butterflies are larger and the caterpillars feed exclusively on violets. The Lesser Fritillary butterflies tend to be smaller in size and while they use violets as a caterpillar food plant, they also will select other host plants such as passionflower


Cultural RequirementsNABA_DividerBar

USDA Hardiness Zone To zone 3
Bloom Period Spring
Bloom Color Varies
Plant Height 6 to 8 inches
Plant Spread 8 to 12 inches
Light Exposure Sun to part shade
Soil Moisture Dry to moist
Animal/Disease Problems None


Native RangeNABA_DividerBar
Viola species







Plant RatingNABA_DividerBar
Plant rating scale ranges from 0 to 3. Plants rating 3 are the most useful for butterfly gardens. For more details on the ratings, see Native Plant Ratings

Garden Rating 2
Nectar Rating 0
Caterpillar Rating 3


Plant Reviews

Miami & Johnson Co., KS There is a native, annual violet species, Viola bicolor, which is called Field Pansy, Johnny Jump-Up, or Wild Pansy. It is not often found for sale in plant nurseries.