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

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

Plant for deep shade in Pennsylvania
April 09, 2013 - Hi! I am landscaping our house and trying to use only plants that provide seasonal benefit to bees, butterflies, birds etc. not the deer though. My question is that I have a fairly steep slope of abou...
view the full question and answer

Plants for birds in Virginia
February 17, 2008 - Hi there, I would like to plant some bird-friendly shrubs in my backyard, here in the Shenandoah Valley. I have read that birds like winterberries, and I think they are gorgeous. But, this is mid-Fe...
view the full question and answer

Creating a wildlife refuge
January 30, 2003 - We would like to make my yard more of a wildlife refuge by using a portion of the lawn for plants and shrubs and may afford shelter for birds and other wildlife. Can you please recommend what we shoul...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for wildlife gardening in Illinois
May 29, 2006 - I live in Rockford, Illinois. Where/How can I find information on native flowers, plants, trees, grasses and animals, and other things I can plant on our property (about an acre) to provide a home fo...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center