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?


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
1 rating

Monday - February 11, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Butterfly Gardens
Title: Native plants for a school butterfly garden
Answered by: Barbara Medford


My son's school is having a beautification work day and one of the projects is a butterfly garden. Parents are being asked to donate plants, and we would like to suggest appropriate plants for this area (Austin). Could you give us a list of suggestions?


Here is a list of appropriate butterfly-attracting plants for Texas. We are going to make you a customized list of plants we like for this purpose and believe will do well in the Central Texas area. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, care and propagation of plants native to North America. Being native, these plants will require less water, fertilizer and be better able to cope with the temperatures of the area for which they are selected.

By clicking on the links for each plant in our list, you will be able to read about that plant, its needs for sun, and some of the butterflies or moths it will attract. Many of these may be available in area nurseries, or you can go to our Native Plant Supplier list for Texas. This gives you a list of 37 nurseries in Texas that specialize in native plants, of which several are in the Austin area. Most have phone numbers so you can call them and determine if they have what you are looking for before you make the trip. These plants are all perennials, and should return each year.

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow)

Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush)

Penstemon cobaea (cobaea beardtongue)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac)

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (blackeyed Susan)

Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush)

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia)

Aquilegia canadensis

Asclepias tuberosa

Callirhoe involucrata

Campsis radicans

Echinacea purpurea

Leucophyllum frutescens

Penstemon cobaea

Phyla nodiflora

Rhus lanceolata

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

Tecoma stans

Wedelia texana



More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Type of non-native parsley for swallowtails from Austin
September 02, 2012 - What is the best type of parsley for Yellow Swallowtails? Lost a caterpillar when it ran out of food from a parsley plant. I can't remember what kind of parsley. It would not feed on Rue, cilantro...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly and Hummingbird Attracting Plants for CT
April 15, 2015 - Could you please give me a list of flowers that would attract butterflies and hummingbirds? I live in Darien, Connecticut and would love to make a butterfly garden.
view the full question and answer

Native nightshade that is a host to hornworm-hawk's eye moth
October 03, 2013 - Is there a native nightshade that serves as a host to tomato hornworm/hawks eye moth? I like the moth and as a gardener do not like the hornworm. I would like to have a patch of not terribly toxic nig...
view the full question and answer

Native host plants for Painted Lady Butterfly
June 01, 2006 - I am looking for host plants for the Painted Lady Butterfly that I can plant in my school's (I am a teacher) native plant/butterfly garden. As part of the curriculum, each spring the 1st grade raises...
view the full question and answer

What would replace non-native orange tree leaves in butterfly hatchery?
July 17, 2009 - I have a very small orange tree that currently has dozens of caterpillars on it that look like bird droppings. I think I have narrowed them down to a swallowtail butterfly. I would love to let them ma...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center