Ladew Topiary Gardens

Named One of the Top 5 Gardens
in North America

Welcome to Ladew Gardens' Butterfly House — the first of its kind in the region! 

Step inside and experience up-close the habitat and life cycle of local butterflies and caterpillars. Our naturalists will guide your visit, teaching you about the remarkable metamorphosis, from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. You may discover a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis... you can see which plants provide food and shelter for each of the native butterfly species... you can learn about the vital role butterflies play in plant pollination and in the food chain.  

The Butterfly House at Ladew Gardens is made possible, in part, through the generosity of the Middendorf Foundation, Inc. We also thank the Delaplaine Foundation, Inc. for their generous support in assisting Ladew in the production of educational signage to enrich the learning experience in our Butterfly House.

Select the butterfly to view Caterpillar Host Plants and more.

Butterfly House Hours  
June 18 to October  1         10:30 am - 4 pm   (weather permitting) 

Holiday & Special Event Hours 

July 4  May close early by 2:30 pm 
September  Labor Day Weekend Hours to be determined


Please Note:  In the case of inclement weather, including heavy rain, thunderstorms, and heat advisory days, we reserve the right to close the Butterfly House.  If in doubt, please call ahead to confirm whether the Butterfly House is open.  We reserve the right to close the Butterfly House at the last minute.



Please check in at the Visitors Center prior to visiting the Butterfly House.

Ladew members: Free

Non-members: Free with paid garden admission

Groups of 10 or more  are requested to schedule a visit in advance.
 Contact Sue Myers at 410.557.9570, x213 or


Did you know...

In Maryland, where our winters can get brutally cold, many of our local butterflies need plant stalks and fallen leaves to survive. If you want to help them out, save your garden clean-up for the Springtime, and come to appreciate that a untamed garden is full of life!

  • Many species spend the winter as youngsters; either as an Egg (Hairstreaks), Caterpillar ( Viceroy, Pearl Crescent)   or Chrysalis (Swallowtails, Azures). Their camouflage makes them difficult  for us and would-be predators to see. If you can spot them, these are often found attached to plant material in your garden.

  • With small bodies and fragile wings, it is amazing that some butterflies spend the winter as an adult butterfly (Question Mark, Comma, Mourning Cloak). These species stay protected from the cold in the leaf litter, under tree bark or unheated buildings. If we have a winter day that heats up to 55*, you may see a Mourning Cloak out basking in the sun.

  • The amazing Fall Migration of the Monarch butterfly is well known to many people, but there are other species that sometimes migrate South for shorter distances for warmth and food.  (Painted Lady, Common Buckeye, Cloudless Sulphur).  Home gardens that provide host plants for the  caterpillars and a variety of nectar plants that bloom throughout the growing season will support our stay-at home butterflies as well as those just passing through.