Explore Plants

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
    
 

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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - April 05, 2010

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Native trees that host moths and butterflies for birds in Houston Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have learned that non-native or alien plants do not attract the insects that the birds need to live on. I would like to know which native trees for central Texas have the greatest hosting capacity for moths/butterflies that provide food for the birds in the area?

ANSWER:

The Houston Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas has an excellent list of Native Host Plants for Southeast Texas Butterflies in its Native Plant Information Pages.  Their list includes trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses and gives specific recommendations for specific butterflies or moths.  Since you are from Houston I am assuming that these are the best choices for you.  However, if you are looking for trees for Central Texas, most of these species are also native to Central Texas. Also, on our Recommended Species page we have a list of plants that serve as hosts to moths and butterflies—"Butterflies and Moths of North America".  While all the species on the "Butterflies and Moths of North America" list are native to North America, they are not necessarily native to Texas and might not do well in your area.  Be sure to check the "Distribution" and "Growing Conditions" to see if they are suitable for your area.  Here are a few choices from these lists:

Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree)

Celtis laevigata (sugarberry)

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon)

Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon)

Populus deltoides (eastern cottonwood)

Prosopis glandulosa (honey mesquite)

Prunus serotina (black cherry)

Sapindus saponaria (wingleaf soapberry)

Here are photos of the plants listed above from our Image Gallery:

 

 

 

 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Plants for butterflies and hummingbirds in Louisville, KY
March 31, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Louisville KY. I have a waterfall and ponds connected by a small stream. I want to plant several plants around my waterfall- approx. 20 sq ft on both sides of waterfall....
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

Drought tolerant plants for butterflies and hummingbirds
November 16, 2009 - I have about 150 sq ft of space in our backyard (urban OKC residence) that gets direct sun in the morning but is 100% shaded by 11-Noon from 2 large Sycamore trees. The space is on the west side of t...
view the full question and answer

Host plant for butterflies in North Carolina
March 27, 2008 - What is the best host plant for butterflies in North Carolina?
view the full question and answer

Native nectar plants for hummingbirds in Central Texas
April 24, 2008 - Ref: Cen.Tx. Hummingbird plants I am seeking a list of appropriate plants with lots of nectar to attract hummingbirds in Central Texas. I live in Hays County between Kyle & Wimberley in a mostly ...
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.