Texas Butterflies and Their Plants

Butterfly species vary from area to area, state to state, and region to region. Plants chosen for a butterfly garden in Florida many not be the best plants for a garden in Texas.

In Texas, these are some of the plants that would be great in a butterfly garden. Some butterfly species in north Texas are not found in south Texas and vice versa.


Pawpaw (Asimina species) for Zebra Swallowtail [eastern edge of Texas only]

Fennel, parsley, dill, carrot tops, Queen Anne’s lace, and other plants in the fennel family for Black Swallowtail [all of Texas]

Hop tree, citrus, prickly ash, rue, and related plants in the citrus family for Giant Swallowtail [all of Texas]

Black cherry (prunus serotina), choke cherry (Prunus virginiana), sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana), basswood, tulip tree (Liriodendron), hop tree, birch, ash, cottonwood, and willow for Eastern Tiger Swallowtail [the eastern half of Texas only]

Spicebush, sassafras,  red bay (Persea borbonia), swamp bay (Persea sp.), silk bay (Persea sp.), for Palamedes Swallowtail [very eastern edge of Texas] and Spicebush Swallowtail [eastern edge of Texas)

Certain Pipevine species for Pipevine Swallowtail [all of Texas]

Certain Pipevine species for Gold Rim (also called Polydamas) Swallowtail [Gulf Coast area of Texas]

Alfalfa, white clover, and other plants in the pea family (Fabaceae) for Orange Sulphur [all of Texas]

Plants in the Senna/Cassia family for the Cloudless Sulphur and Sleepy Orange [all of Texas]

Cabbage, radish, spider flower (Cleome sp), peppergrass (Lepidium species), nasturtium, beach cabbage, clammyweed, and other plants in the mustard family for the Great Southern White [southwest half of Texas], Checkered White [all of Texas], and Cabbage White [all of Texas]

Plumbago for Cassius Blue [San Antonio and further south]

Hackberry for American Snout [all of Texas], Tawny Emperor [all of Texas], Hackberry Emperor [all of Texas], Question Mark (all of Texas0 and Mourning Cloak [all except the most southern tip of Texas]

Milkweed (Asclepias species) for Monarch [all of Texas] and Queen [all of Texas]

Black cherry and choke cherry (Prunus species), deerberry, birch, willow, and shadbush for Red-spotted Purple [eastern and southern halves of Texas]

Willow, poplar, and cottonwood for Viceroy [all of Texas]

Specific passion vine species for Gulf Fritillary [all of Texas], Variegated Fritillary [all of Texas], and Julia [southeastern third of Texas] (Passion vine available from Shady Oak are located here)

Specific passion vine species planted in the shade for Zebra Heliconian [all except the northern half of the middle of Texas] (Passion vine available from Shady Oak are located here)

Frogfruit (Lippia species), water hyssop (Bacopa species), and ruellia species for the White Peacock [southwest half of Texas]

Cudweed (Gnaphalium sp), pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), plantain (plantago sp), frog fruit (Lippia sp) for the American Lady [all of Texas]

Hollyhock, mallow, pearly everlasting, thistles (Asteraceae sp), plantain (Plantago sp), and many more for the Painted Lady [all of Texas]

False nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) or nettle (Urtica sp) for the Question Mark [all of Texas], Red Admiral [all of Texas], and Eastern Comma [eastern third of Texas]

Snapdragon, plantain (Plantago sp), twin flower, wild petunia, some plants in the Ruellia family, and toadflax (Linaria) for Common Buckeye [all of Texas]

Leafy prairie clover for Southern Dogface [all of Texas], Sleepy Orange [all of Texas], Cloudless Sulphur [all of Texas]

Some plants in the Scrubby plants in the acanthus family (Acanthaceae) for the Crimson Patch [all of Texas]

Sunflower for Bordered Patch [all of Texas]


Sweet gum for Luna moth

Texas sage (also called Ceniza) (Leucophyllum frutescens), Mexican jumping bean, ash, and ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) for the Calleta silkmoth [extreme southern part of Texas]

Oak, maple, willow, and birch for the Polyphemus silkmoth [all except the northern part of Texas]

Pine, maple, oak, box elder, sweet gum, and sassafras for the Imperial moth [eastern half of Texas]

Willow, black cherry, box elder, sugar maple, plums, apple, alder, birch, and dogwoods for Cecropia silkmoth [eastern half of Texas)

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