Orange Sulphur on Liatris

Certify Your Love of Butterfly Gardening

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

 

Garden Plant Ratings Explained:

While all of the plants in NABA's Butterfly Garden Guide are useful for butterfly gardens, NABA members have been asked to rate plants with which they are familiar. The charts that accompany each plant are an average of the ratings received to date.

Ratings reflect the following considerations:

Caterpillar food source rating: If you plant this in your garden, how likely is it that at least one species of butterfly will use it as a caterpillar food source?

  • 0 - Is not known as a caterpillar food plant
  • 1 - Very unlikely. Possible reasons would be that it is not the preferred food plant or because, as in the case of Round-leaved Ragwort, the butterfly species that prefers the plant as a food source (in this case, Northern Metalmark) is rare and very localized and it is unlikely that there is a population near your garden.
  • 2 - Reasonable chance of use by caterpillars.
  • 3 - Very likely to attract caterpillars.

Butterfly nectar value: Please consider the overall number of butterflies attracted to the plant in question, in addition to the number of butterfly species that nectar at the plant.

  • 0 - Is not known as a butterfly nectar plant.
  • 1 - Only weakly attractive to butterflies or only attractive for a very short time.
  • 2 - Moderately attractive to many butterflies or very attractive to a few species.
  • 3 - Very attractive to many butterflies.

Garden/Ornamental value: Evaluates the worth of a plant even if you are not considering butterflies. Garden value considers length of bloom period, adaptability to a wide range of settings, ease of growing and maintaining.

  • 0 - A rating of '0' is not an option in this category.
  • 1 - Little value as a garden plant.
  • 2 - moderate value as a garden plant.
  • 3 - great value as a garden plant.

 

 

 

 

Butterfly Gardening Plants of North America

 

The following groups of plants have been selected and rated by NABA members as important native plants for butterfly gardening. Be sure to check NABA's regional garden guides to learn which plants are best suited for regional butterfly gardens.


  • Sort by English Name
  • Sort by Scientific Name
  • Sort by Plant Type

English Name
Scientific Name
Plant Type
Caterpillar Food Plant For:
Alligator Flag
perennial
Brazilian Skipper
American Hackberry
tree
Tawny Emperor, Hackberry Emperor, American Snout, Question Mark, Mourning Cloak
Black Cherry
tree
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Red-spotted Purple, Coral Hairstreak
Blue Porterweed
perennial
Tropical Buckeye

Boneset

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant

Butterfly Milkweed

perennial
Monarch
Corkystem Passionflower
vine
Gulf Fritillary, Julia Heliconian, Zebra Heliconian
Dutchman's Pipe
vine
Pipevine Swallowtail
Faux Persil Balloon vine
vine
Gray Hairstreak, Miami Blue, Silver-banded Hairstreak
Goldenrod species
perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
Guayacan
tree
Lyside Suphur

Hollow Joe Pye Weed

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
Holywood
tree
Lyside Sulphur
Lime Pricklyash
shrub or tree
Giant Swallowtail, Northern Sicklewing, Schaus' Swallowtail
Mexican Senna
shrub
Cloudless Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Orange-barred Sulphur
Mistflower
perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
Mountain Mint perennial not a caterpillar food
New England Aster
perennial
Pearl Crescent
Oswego Tea
perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
Partridge Pea
annual
Cloudless Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Gray Hairstreak
Pearly Everlasting
perennial
American Lady
Purple Milkweed
perennial
Monarch
Spicebush
shrub
Spicebush Swallowtail
Spiny Hackberry
large shrub or tree
Emperors, American Snout, Red-bordered Metalmark
Swamp Milkweed
perennial
Monarch
Tropical Milkweed
perennial or annual

Monarch

Turkey Tangle Frogfruit
perennial

Common Buckeye, Phaon Crescent, White Peacock

Violets
perennial

Fritillary species

Water Dropwort
perennial
Black Swallowtail
White Snakeroot
perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
Wild Bergamont
perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
 

English Name
Scientific Name
Plant Type
Caterpillar Food Plant For:

 Pearly Everlasting

perennial
American Lady
Dutchman's Pipe
vine
Pipevine Swallowtail

Purple Milkweed

perennial
Monarch
Tropical Milkweed
perennial or annual

Monarch

Swamp Milkweed

perennial
Monarch

Butterfly Milkweed

perennial
Monarch

New England Aster

perennial
Pearl Crescent
Faux Persil Balloon vine
vine
Gray Hairstreak, Miami Blue, Silver-banded Hairstreak

American Hackberry

tree
Tawny Emperor, Hackberry Emperor, American Snout, Question Mark, Mourning Cloak
Spiny Hackberry
large shrub or tree
Emperors, American Snout, Red-bordered Metalmark
Partridge Pea
annual
Cloudless Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Gray Hairstreak

Mistflower

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant

Hollow Joe Pye Weed

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
White Snake Root
perennial
not a caterpillar food plant

Boneset

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
Guayacan
tree
Lyside Suphur
Holywood
tree
Lyside Sulphur

Spicebush

shrub
Spicebush Swallowtail

Oswego Tea

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant

Wild Bergamot

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
Water Dropwort
perennial
Black Swallowtail
Corkystem Passionflower
vine
Gulf Fritillary, Julia Heliconian, Zebra Heliconian
Turkey Tangle Fogfruit
perennial

Common Buckeye, Phaon Crescent, White Peacock

Black Cherry

tree
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Red-spotted Purple, Coral Hairstreak
Mountain Mint perennial not a caterpillar food
Mexican Senna
shrub
Cloudless Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Orange-barred Sulphur

Goldenrod species

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
Blue Porterweed
perennial
Tropical Buckeye
Alligator Flag
perennial
Brazilian Skipper

Violets

perennial

Fritillary species

Lime Pricklyash
shrub or tree
Giant Swallowtail, Northern Sicklewing, Schaus' Swallowtail

 

English Name
Scientific Name
Plant Type
Caterpillar Food Plant For:
Partridge Pea
annual
Cloudless Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Gray Hairstreak

 Pearly Everlasting

perennial
American Lady

Purple Milkweed

perennial
Monarch

Swamp Milkweed

perennial
Monarch

Butterfly Milkweed

perennial
Monarch

New England Aster

perennial
Pearl Crescent

Mistflower

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant

Hollow Joe Pye Weed

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
White Snake Root
perennial
not a caterpillar food plant

Boneset

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant

Oswego Tea

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant

Wild Bergamot

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
Water Dropwort
perennial
Black Swallowtail
Turkey Tangle Fogfruit
perennial

Common Buckeye, Phaon Crescent, White Peacock

Mountain Mint perennial not a caterpillar food

Goldenrod species

perennial
not a caterpillar food plant
Blue Porterweed
perennial
Tropical Buckeye
Alligator Flag
perennial
Brazilian Skipper

Violets

perennial

Fritillary species

Tropical Milkweed
perennial or annual

Monarch

Spicebush

shrub
Spicebush Swallowtail
Mexican Senna
shrub
Cloudless Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Orange-barred Sulphur
Lime Pricklyash
shrub or tree
Giant Swallowtail, Northern Sicklewing, Schaus' Swallowtail
Spiny Hackberry
large shrub or tree
Emperors, American Snout, Red-bordered Metalmark

American Hackberry

tree
Tawny Emperor, Hackberry Emperor, American Snout, Question Mark, Mourning Cloak

Black Cherry

tree
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Red-spotted Purple, Coral Hairstreak
Guayacan
tree
Lyside Suphur
Holywood
tree
Lyside Sulphur
Dutchman's Pipe
vine
Pipevine Swallowtail
Faux Persil Balloon vine
vine
Gray Hairstreak, Miami Blue, Silver-banded Hairstreak
Corkystem Passionflower
vine
Gulf Fritillary, Julia Heliconian, Zebra Heliconian