Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Butterfly gardening

I seem to be collecting a huge pile of information on butterfly gardening and thought I’d take some time this week to read through and summarize it.

One thing to remember is that the caterpillars will consume leaves off the host plants. So if you plant for butterflies you’ll be getting caterpillars as well. Be sure to plant nectar plants for adults and host plants for the caterpillars.

Mothers lay eggs and caterpillars hatch about a week later and start to eat the host plant. Caterpillars grow about 2,000 times birth size and shed their shells about 5 times during this cycle. The caterpillars then attach to the host plant and forms the chrysalis. This stage can last between weeks and months depending on the butterfly.

You also want to not be using pesticides. Butterflies pollinate about 65% of the world’s flowering plants.

And plant plants in large groupings to best attract butterflies.  I’m told you MUST plant host plants and plants that are food for caterpillars to get a good supply of butterflies in your garden.
Texas has more than 450 native species of butterflies, 100s of which can be found in the Houston area.

Indian Blanket/Firewheel ( Gaillardia pulchella ) blooms for a long time, we have it in bloom all over the Woodlands now and it will continue to bloom through fall. Black spiney caterpillars on Indian Blanket will become bordered patch butterflies.

Dill, parsley, and fennel will all attract black swallowtail butterflies.

Gayfeather ( Liatris ) serves up nectar to both butterflies and hummingbirds.

Snake herb ( Dyschoriste oblongifolia ) provides nectar and host plant for buckeye, Texas crescent and vest crescent butterflies.

Mexican Milkweed ( Asclepias curassavica ) provides nectar and is host for monarch butterflies. Caterpillars ingest toxic glycosides and birds avoid the adults for that reason.

Rock Rose ( Pavonia Lasiopetala ) provides nectar for butterflies and humming birds.

Summer Phlox ( Phlox paniculata ) provides nectar

More host plants include:
Flame Acanthus { Texas Crescent }
Pipevines { Pipevine Swallowtail }
Giant Cane { Pearly eyes }
Paw-paw { Zebra Swallowtail }
Spring cress { Falcate Orangetip }
Legumes { Long tailed skipper }
Fennel { Black Swallowtail }
Eastern Red Cedar { Juniper Hairstreak }
Passionvine { Heliconians }
Red bay { Palamedes Swallowtail }
Black Cherry {Tiger Swallowtail }
Sumacs { Red-banded hairstreak }
Sassafras { Spicebush swallowtail }
Voilets { Variegated Fritillary }

More nectar plants include:
Butterfly weed
Butterfly Bush
Button Bush
Purple Coneflower
Legumes (sweat peas )
Texas Star Hibiscus
Woolly Rose Mallow
Rose Mallow
Virginia Sweetspire
Salt Marsh Mallow
Kansas Gayfeather
Cardinal Flower
Coral Honeysuckle
Bee Balm
Rose Vervain

Also on this site:
Butterflies and butterfly gardens

See also:
Tom Terrific
North American Butterly Assocation, Houston, Texas Chapter

Passion Vine
Pineapple Sage