Butterfly gardens in Central Texas

Gardening for Butterflies


Sight location for butterfly gardens: The majority plants in a butterfly garden require a sunny location to thrive. These plants also require deep, rich, organic soils (compost) to grow to their full potential. We recommend raised beds. Plants should be planted en masse to attract adult butterflies. Establishing windbreaks in exposed gardens is necessary. *Warning: butterfly gardens will attract bees, wasps, hummingbirds, moths and other forms of wildlife. This is a good thing.


Water source: Adult butterflies “puddle” … they drink from mud! Not only does this provide water but the mud provides needed minerals.


Shelter: Texas gets hot and adult butterflies like shade. Shrubs, trees, grasses, garden benches and other garden structures provide a cool place to hide & pupate! 


Garden Maintenance: Organic is best! Using ANY pesticide is strongly discouraged! Spray insect infections with water or remove infected plants. Fire ants can be treated with boiling water (carefully!) or diluted orange oil.

Pollinator plants for Butterflies

Host Plant Highlights – Host plants provide caterpillars with a food source.  Specific caterpillars require certain plants:

Pipevine Swallowtail: Wooly & Veined Dutchman’s Pipevine (Aristolochia tomentosa & A. fimbriata) Note: some commercially available pipevines are toxic to our native Swallowtails.

Eastern Black Swallowtail: Dill, Fennel & Parsley

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail: Ash trees, Apple trees & Plum trees

Eastern Giant Swallowtail: Hercules’s Club, Rue, Citrus trees like lemons & oranges

Gulf Fritillary, Julias & Zebra Longwings: Maypop (Passiflora incarnata), Blue Passionvine (p. caerulea), ‘Incense’ Passionvine.

Theona Checkerspot: Texas Sage

Bordered Patch: Ragweed, Boneset, Maximilian Sunflower, Frostweed

Question Mark: Cedar Elm, Hackberry

Painted Lady: many native thistles (weeds are a good thing!) Sunflower, Borage, Globe Mallow

Viceroy: Willow trees, Cottonwood trees, Black Cherry

Ruddy Daggerwing: Fig trees

Monarchs, Queens, Soldiers: Tropical Milkweed and others. Note: Tropical Milkweed should be cut down late September.

More butterfly specific host plants can be found at www.dallasbutterflies.com


Nectar Plant Highlights  -  Nectar plants provide adult butterflies with a food source.  Specific adults may be attracted to certain flowers but many flowers are enjoyed by multiple species:    


Milkweed (all of them!)

Gregg’s Blue Mistflowers & Fragrant Mistflower

Purple Coneflower varieties

Lantana (all of them!)

Turk’s Cap


Texas Frogfruit

Summer Phlox

Salvia (all of them!)

Pincushion Flower / Scabiosa

Mexican Sunflower / Tithonia

Zinnia (all of them!)

Black-eyed Susan

Mexican Flame Vine



Flame Acanthus

Button Bush

Duranta / Golden Dewdrop

Texas Kidneywood

Mexican Plum Tree

Carolina Jessamine

*Buddleia / Butterfly Bush has been omitted

Find these plants, and many more, here at Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery!

CALL 512-260-5050