Better Know a Host Plant: Wild Violets

Better Know a Host Plant is a series of posts all about common to rare butterfly host plants. Each week during the butterfly season we will feature a host plant that we have experience with, or just find interesting!

Common Name: Wild violets

Latin Name: Viola sororia

Bloom time: Spring

Spread: 0.5 to 0.75 ft

Native: Yes

Host Plant: Great Spangled Fritillary (left photo), Variegated Fritillary (right photo)

Nectar Plant: Assorted pollinators

Color: Purple and white flowers

Our Experience: Wild violets are found in grassy areas where no herbicides are used. Our lawn is coated with them–as it should be! They are perfect for lazy gardeners who provide a steady regimen of benign neglect. Some might say they are aggressive or invasive—it all depends on what you want growing in your yard. I love seeing the little flashes and bits of purple in the grass, and the fact they are host plants makes them a welcomed addition to our habitat.

Pros: Easily grown host plant. Tolerates being ignored and withstands whatever the weather or soil conditions are.

Cons: Generously reproduces itself all over, but we think that’s a good thing!

Rating: 4 out of 5


Left to right: Variegated Fritillary eggs on wild violet leaf; early instar Variegated Fritillary caterpillar; Variegated Fritillary chrysalis.

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