Asked May 2, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

What is the best host plants for butterflies? What is the best milkweed? Where can I purchase native plants ?

Jefferson County Kentucky

1 Response

It is great that you want to attract butterflies and create a garden for them!

Many plants appeal to butterflies not just milkweed. Many popular garden plants like asters, coreopsis, daylillies, marigolds and purple coneflowers can attract a variety of butterflies. They feed on both nectar and fruit.

Design spots for puddles as they also need a water supply (keep it fresh to avoid mosquito breeding). Rocks placed in the garden will give butterflies a place to warm and bask, this helps regulate their body temperature.

A detailed list is included in the following link:

Native plants that grow in Kentucky can be found in many local nurseries and garden centers, but I have included a list of growers for your convenience.

Dropseed Native Nursery
Margaret Shea, 1205 S. Buckeye Lane, Goshen, KY 40026 Tel: 502/439-9033
E-mail: Web:
%Native: 100. W/R/M/S/C

Habitats Native Plant Nursery, LLC
Jacob Bartley, P.O. Box 265, Silver Grove, KY 41085 Tel: 859/442-9414
E-mail: Web:
We specialize in local-genetic native plant seeds and select containerized herbaceous perennials and shrubs for wetlands, meadows, prairies, and woodlands. Serving Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and the surrounding region, our services include habitat assessments, design, installation, and management for a variety of habitat restoration projects including constructed wetland treatment systems and native landscapes.
%Native: 100. W/M/S/C

Jane's Native Seeds
1280 McDonald Road, Lawrenceburg, KY 40342 Tel: 502/750-1571
%Native: 50. W/S/C

John P. Rhody Nursery
Kentucky Division of Forestry, P.O. Box 97, Gilbertsville, KY 42044 Tel: 502/564-4496 Fax: 502/564-6553
E-mail: Web:
%Native: 100.

M&M Native Grass Seed Co.
Rt. 1 Box 18, Stephensport, KY 40170 Tel: 270/547-6855

Morgan County Nursery
326 Tree Nursery Road, West Liberty, KY 41472 Tel: 502/564-4496 Fax: 502/564-6553
E-mail: Web:
%Native: 100.

Nolin River Nut Tree Nursery
797 Port Wooden Rd., Upton, KY 42784 Tel: 270/369-8551
E-mail: Web:
%Native: 90. R/W

Shooting Star Nursery
160 Soards Rd, Georgetown, KY 40324 Tel: 502/867-7979
E-mail: Web:
Nursery-propagated wildflowers, trees, shrubs, vines, wetland plants. Wildflower and prairie grass seeds and seed mixes. Free 25-page catalog.

Wearren and Sons Nurseries, Inc.
406 Cotton Lane, Taylorsville, KY 40071 Tel: 502/252-7788 Fax: 502/252-7349

Let me know if I can help you further!

Carol Wilder
Horticulture Technician
Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service
810 Barret Ave
Louisville Ky 40204