En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Thursday - October 18, 2007

From: College Station, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Native plants to attract butterflies
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm a Texas A&M Wildlife and Ecology student working with a landowner in Bastrop County, Texas. As part of their Habitat Management Plan, they are hoping to enhance butterfly habitat on their property. We're hoping to open up a few clearings on the heavily forested property (hardwoods) and introduce some native plants to attract butterflies. As such, I'm looking for plants of all levels of sun that tolerate dry conditions on a sandy loam. Any recommendations?

ANSWER:

You will want to find plants that are good nectar sources for adults and ones that are caterpillar food. The Cockrell Butterfly Center Guide to Butterfly Gardening in Houston has a list of nectar plants, some of them native and some not. Many of these serve as larval food for caterpillars as well. Of the native ones, here are some that are found in Bastrop County, Texas and should do well in the habitat you describe:

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain)

Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (aromatic aster)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage)

Solidago altissima (late goldenrod)

Liatris mucronata (cusp blazing star) and other Liatris species.

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

For larval food plants there are several source lists:

Caterpillar Food Plants for Central Texas from Mike Quinn at Texas Parks & Wildlife, Gardening for Butterflies from the Butterfly Enthusiasts of Southeast Texas of the North American Butterfly Asscociation (BEST-NABA) and Native Host Plants for Southeast Texas Butterflies from the Houston Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas.

From these lists here are some suggested plants for Bastrop County:

Asclepias asperula (spider milkweed)

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet)

Phacelia congesta (bluecurls)

Passiflora lutea (yellow passionflower)

Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree)

Helianthus annuus (common sunflower)

Cornus drummondii (roughleaf dogwood)

Most of these plants are readily available commercially. You can search for nurseries and seed companies in your area that specialize in native plants by visiting our National Suppliers Directory.

 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Native plants in Denton Co. TX pollinated by bats or hummingbirds
December 07, 2011 - I am looking for a list of Denton Co. TX native plants that are pollinated by bats? Do we have any? How about hummingbirds?
view the full question and answer

Xeriscape demonstration garden
October 30, 2007 - I am working with the city of Schertz to rejuvenate a xeriscape demonstration garden. We want to plant a hummingbird/butterfly garden using native plants. The current bed is currently overrun with ber...
view the full question and answer

Chemical composition of native plants for birds
September 06, 2009 - I am looking for specific information on the biochemistry/nutrition of native plants as they relate to bird nutrition. ie. protein,fat,carbohydrate,vitamin etc found in northeast woody natives for a ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plant with berries for wildlife
September 16, 2007 - We live in central Texas and I am attempting to plant for wildlife. Could you suggest an evergreen, approximately 3-4 feet tall, that would have berries for the birds in the Fall and winter? The pla...
view the full question and answer

Wildlife habitat in Gambia
April 06, 2005 - Thank you for the interesting website. We bought a plot in the Gambia and would like to change it into a habitat for different living species; hence, your kindly advise is welcome as we are definitel...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center