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

Friday - February 04, 2011

From: Canyon lake, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Butterfly Gardens
Title: Butterfly/hummingbird garden plants for Hill Country, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What drought resistant plants would you recommend for a Hill Country butterfly/hummingbird garden that receives at least a half day of sun? It has afternoon exposure.


We have two lists, found on our Recommended Species page, that are tailored for your requirements. The first is Hummingbird Plants for Central Texas. There were 30 plants on this list; after we specified "herb" (herbaceous blooming plant) under General Appearance, and "part shade" (2 to 6 hours daily of sun) under Light Requirements, there were 10 plants suggested that should attract hummingbirds for your garden. Using the instructions above for generating the list, follow the plant link to our webpage on each plant. This page will tell you the expected size of the plant, what pollinators it attracts, how much sunlight it needs daily, soil and moisture it prefers, and color and time of bloom.

Next, let us send you to our article on Hill Country Horticulture, which is actually a list of plants recommended for use in this area. Since the Hill Country is mostly in need of drought-resistant plants, that is going to be a good place to start. There were are 430 plants on that list; to narrow it down, we selected on "herb" for General Appearance, and "part shade" for Light Requirements. This yielded a list of 146 plants. As with the first list, reading each plant page will give you more information.  Obviously, there will be some overlap between the two lists, and you can also find shrubs, using the same search method, that will serve your purpose.

Our list below is not necessarily generated from either list, but plants we know from personal experience will grow well in the Hill Country, are native to Texas and attract pollinators.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap or turkscap)Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (Flame acanthus)

Lantana urticoides (Texas lantana)

Salvia greggii (Autumn sage)

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage)

Erythrina herbacea (Coralbean)

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (Flame acanthus)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Asclepias tuberosa

Bignonia capreolata

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Lantana urticoides

Salvia greggii

Salvia coccinea

Erythrina herbacea

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii






More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Texas native variety of butterfly weed
November 19, 2008 - Which variety of Butterfly Weed is the native Texas variety? I want to know which one supplies the proper defense against birds to the Monarch butterfly through it's nectar? I have heard that the n...
view the full question and answer

Locating milkweed to feed larvae of Monarch butterfly
November 17, 2005 - A monarch butterfly on her way south, stopped and laid her eggs on a tropical milkweed. The larvae have hatched and now I want to insure their survival, but I only had 1 plant which they have strippe...
view the full question and answer

Dead woody plants in wildlife garden in Austin
March 02, 2011 - I am an enthusiastic and pretty successful wildlife gardener, have studied my Wasowski "Bible", but I can't get any evergreens established in my yard! We live on blackland clay, which I amend with ...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly gardening in Quitman, TX
February 11, 2009 - We want to establish a butterfly garden in our back yard. What plants should we establish to attract the butterfly for food and host planting?
view the full question and answer

Will recycled tire mulch harm butterfly larvae?
December 05, 2012 - I discovered orange butterfly larva in the hardwood mulch under my Turk's Cap. Will it harm the larva if I switch over to recycled tire mulch?
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