There are two types of foodplant important to the survival of the butterflies in the garden – nectar foodplants for the adult butterflies to feed from and larval foodplants for the caterpillars.
A related crucifer is the old cottage garden favorite honesty, seen here in both its colour forms. The same two butterflies will also use this as their larval foodplant, so another v.i.p.
Another v.i.p. is bird’s-foot trefoil seen here growing amongst orange hawkweed (fox and cubs). As well as being a major nectar source for many small butterflies, it is the principle larval foodplant of the Common Blue
OTHER IMPORTANT LARVAL FOODPLANTS:
Thistles for the Painted Lady. We do not attempt to keep a regular supply of these troublesome plants because of the inability of the butterfly to permanently survive in this country. It is purely a bonus migrant species. However, the neighbouring horse field and dyke banks are full of them, as can be seen from the picture. They are a classic nectar plant too.
Clover (Trifolium spp.) This abundant plant plays host of the occasional Clouded Yellow we are visited by, plus the Common Blue will readily take to it as well as bird’s-foot trefoil.
Elm (Ulmus spp.) on standby for the White-letter Hairstreak, a repeat of our Derbyshire fame (see home page). The Comma also uses it in addition to nettles.