Butterfly Garden Plant Viola species Violet species
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:
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
|USDA Hardiness Zone||To zone 3|
|Plant Height||6 to 8 inches|
|Plant Spread||8 to 12 inches|
|Light Exposure||Sun to part shade|
|Soil Moisture||Dry to moist|
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
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.