Orange-barred Sulphur

To find out more about which butterflies you are most likely to see in Lower Rio Grande gardens, click here:



Learn more about butterflies in this region at local NABA chapter meetings:

NABA South Texas


Tropical Checkered Skipper

Tropical Checkered Skipper


Heart Seeded Vine

Large Orange Sulphur on Heartleaf Hibiscus

Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas Garden Guide

Nestled between the Chihuhuan Desert on the west and the Gulf of Mexico on the east in the USDA climate zone 9, the Lower Rio Grande Valley is an area of contrasting climatic and biotic influences. Including Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy, and Cameron counties, this area Blue Metalmarkexperiences annual rainfall ranges from about 26 inches along the Gulf coast to 17 inches on the western edge of the region.

With an average mean temperature of about 72 degrees and nearly 325 days of sun, the Lower Rio Grande Valley enjoys the longest growing season in the United States. Temperate and tropic climates meet here, as do the major Mississippi and Central bird flyways.

Eleven different biotic communities serve as habitat to over 300 species of butterflies. MalachiteUnfortunately, over 95% of this natural habitat has been lost due to agricultural, industrial, and urban development.

Planting a butterfly garden in the Lower Rio Grande Valley is one way to help restore some of the habitat that has been lost to development and provide resources for wild butterflies to thrive and grow.

The following plants have been selected and rated by NABA members as important native plants for butterfly gardening in the region.

NABA Selected Shrubs, Vines, and Trees for the LRGV

NABA Selected Annuals and Perennials for the LRGV

Plant three nectar plants and three caterpillar food plants that are native to your region. Your garden will then qualify to join the growing number of NABA Certified Butterfly Gardens, helping to promote and increase butterfly habitat across the country

NABA greatly appreciates the volunteer contributions of the local experts who generously gave their advice on this garden guide. They have included Gil Quintanilla and Mike Quinn with contributions from Diann Ballesteros, David & Jan Dauphin, Javier Deleon, Carol Goolsby, Martin Hagne, David Hanson, Maxine McClendon, Christina Mild, Joshua Rose, Ellie Thompson, Cynthia Traylor, Ann Vacek, and Frank Wiseman, among others.