The key to attracting butterflies to your landscape in Central Texas is to have both nectar producing and egg-laying plants growing. Among the best nectar-producing plants are Gregg’s mistflower, milkweed, sunflower, and porterweed. Zinnias are the mainstay of a cutting flower garden and they also will be the source of spectacular photos as they will be covered with butterflies and hummingbirds harvesting their nectar.
Lantanas, salvias, duranta, and cosmos are also popular nectar plants. In addition to producing nectar for all butterfly species, milkweed is the only species on which Monarch butterflies will lay their eggs. Giant swallowtails need citrus plants and gulf fritillaries reproduce on passionvine. If you want to have lots of black swallowtails, include dill, fennel and or parsley in your garden.
For a full list of the plants that are the nesting sites of the many butterfly species that live in Central Texas, obtain a reference book such as Geyata Ajilvsgi’s “ Butterfly Gardening for the South”. Another way to learn which are the best butterfly plants is to visit the Milberger’s Certified Butterfly Garden. The garden includes the plants that attract and produce butterflies in our area in a setting to show how the plants can be arranged and maintained as part of an attractive landscape. A list of all the plants in the garden is available along with horticulturist Calvin Finch’s handout on butterfly gardening, including his ideas on the use of pesticides consistent with increased butterflies in the landscape.
While at Milberger’s you can visit our butterfly garden, certified by the North American Butterfly Association, and ask for our complete list of butterfly attracting
plants. Learn how to build a butterfly garden at your house at Milberger’s free adult seminar May 19 starts at 10:30 am.