Plants for a
Butterfly Garden

Most herbs, when flowering, attract butterflies. Oregano, basil, the tiny flowers of thyme and rosemary all attract butterflies when blooming. Some herbs, dill, fennel and parsley, for example, are host plants for the swallowtail butterfly. The adult butterfly lays its eggs on the plant so the larvae will have food immediately upon hatching. So, when you see those little green, yellow and black striped caterpillars devouring your dill or parsley, and if you want butterflies, don't destroy the caterpillars.

For a comprehensive listing of which plants attract which varieties of butterflies, click here to open information from the Cockerell Butterfly Center in Houston, TX.


Botanical Name Ajania pacifica
Common Name Pacific Chrysanthemum    
Attribute Perennial
Cultural Requirements Sun, Part Shade.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 12", spread to 12"
Other Information bfly Medium green leaves with silver edge. Small yellow flowers held above foliage. Nice in front of border.


Botanical Name Anisacanthus wrightii   
Common Name Hummingbird Bush, Flame Acanthus
Attribute Perennial Shrub
Cultural Requirements Full sun
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 40", spread to 5' around.
Other Information bflyhummer Narrow dark orange tubular blossoms cover this shrub making it very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Narrow medium green leaves. Nice speciman in a large garden or all on its own.


Botanical Name Asclepias tuberosa
Common Name Butterfly Weed    
Attribute Perennial.
Cultural Requirements Full sun, part shade, average to low water usage.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 4'.
Other Information bflyMajor butterfly attractor. Monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on this one! Very important.


Botanical Name Buddleja lindleyana
Common Name Butterfly Bush
Attribute Deciduous, perennial shrub. Hardy in Zones 8 &9.
Cultural Requirements Full sun to part shade, regular water
Mature size, Spacing Ht & Width: at least 5'
Other Information beebflyUpright, arching slender branches. Dark green, ovate leaves to 4". Distincely curved, dark violet flowers in nodding panicles to 8" in late summer.


Botanical Name Clerodundrum bungei   
Common Name Glory Bower, Cashmere Bouquet
Attribute Perennial, deciduous suckering shrub.
Cultural Requirements Full sun to part shade, average water.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 4'.
Other Information Attracts Swallowtail butterflies. Flowers dark pink, fragrant, in rounded panicles from late summer till frost. Reseeds freely.

Botanical Name Clerodundrum ugandense
Common Name Blue Glory Bower    
Attribute Scandent, evergreen climber or tall shrub.
Cultural Requirements Full sun to part shade. Average water.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 12'.
Other Information Flowers blue and white, resembles airy butterflies. Panicles 3" - 4" long. Blooms summer to autumn.


Botanical Name Dicliptera resupinata
Common Name Dicliptera    
Attribute Tough perennial
Cultural Requirements Full sun, low water usage, very drought tolerant. Desert species.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 2' X 3'.
Other Information beebflyhummerSmall lavender flowers grow all over this low sub-shrub. Light green, waxy leaves.


Botanical Name Dicliptera suberecta
Common Name Uruguyan Firecracker Plant, King's Mantle    
Attribute Hardy perennial, to Zone 7a.
Cultural Requirements Full sun to part shade. Low water usage.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: 18" - 24" tall.
Other Information beebflyhummerReddish/orange blooms all summer. Medium green, silvery, velvety leaves. Also known as: Justicia suberecta, Jacobinia suberecta


Botanical Name Eupatorium coelestinum
Common Name Gregg's Mist Flower    
Attribute Perennial
Cultural Requirements Full Sun
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 15", spread to 12" or more.
Other Information bfly Soft blue flowers like little tiny thistles make this irresistable to butterflies. Medium bright green leaves are toothed and soft.


Botanical Name Hammelia spp.
Common Name Mexican Fire Bush    
Attribute Perennial Shrub
Cultural Requirements Full Sun.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 5'. Spread to 4' or 5'.
Other Information bflyhummer Orange tubular shaped flowers attract butterflies in summer and fall. Medium size, slightly hairy dark green leaves. Good shrub for background planting.


Botanical Name Hibiscus acetocella "Coppertone"
Common Name Red Hibiscus
Attribute Tender Perennial, Annual.
Cultural Requirements Full sun, average water.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 4', 2'-3' spread.
Other Information teapot Beautiful dark reddish, coppery leaves and dark rose flowers. Use flowers for a lovely tea.


Botanical Name Hibiscus coccineus
Common Name Texas Red Star Hibiscus    
Attribute Perennial. Red flowers to 4" across with "star" pattern in green on petals. Narrow, deeply lobed leaves.
Cultural Requirements Full sun, low water.
Mature size, Spacing Grows to 6'. Very branching habit.
Other Information beebflyPlant responds well to some light pruning to increase branching and flower production. Plant goes dormant in winter and regrows in Spring. Easy from seed. Soak seed overnight prior to planting. Germinates at 70 deg. F.


Botanical Name Justicia brandegeana
Common Name Shrimp Plant    
Attribute Perennial
Cultural Requirements Full sun to part shade or dappled light.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 30", spread to 30" or 3'.
Other Information bfly hummerCurved bracts in a soft coral or "shrimp pink" color surround small white flowers. Medium green leaves are softly hairy. Old fashioned garden plant invaluable for a Cottage Garden or Perennial Bed.


Botanical Name Justicia californica
Common Name Chuparosa
Attribute Perennial
Cultural Requirements Full sun to part shade. Low water usage.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 5', spread to 4'.
Other Information bflyhummer Red tubular flowers bloom in spring and throuout the year. Grayish green foliage. Very drought tolerant, desert plant.

Botanical Name Justicia spicigera
Common Name Mexican Bush Honeysuckle    
Attribute Perennial shrub, evergreen where hardy. Root hardy to Zone 7, evergreen to Zone 9.
Cultural Requirements Full sun, average water.
Mature size, Spacing Grows to about 4' X 4'.
Other Information bflybeehummer Tubular orange flowers.


Botanical Name Malvaviscus arboreus
Common Name Turk's Cap   
Attribute Perennial shrub. Deciduous. Red, fez-like flowers turn into red berries in fall.
Cultural Requirements Full sun to part shade. Plant grows more upright, less sprawling in part shade. Blooms just as well in part shade. Average soil and water.
Mature size, Spacing Grows from 3'-5'.
Other Information bfly hummerEasy to grow. Not bothered by adverse conditions.


Botanical Name Malvaviscus arboreus drummondii
Common Name Giant Turk's Cap
Attribute Perennial shrub.
Cultural Requirements Full sun to part shade. Average soil and water.
Mature size, Spacing Grows from 5' to 6' , spreads to about 3'.
Other Information bfly hummerEasy to grow. Not bothered by adverse conditions. Deciduous. Red, fez-like flowers bloom all during the warm season.


Botanical Name Russelia equisetiformis
Common Name Yellow RusseliaFirecracker Fern, Firecracker Plant
Attribute Tender perennial shrub with arching branches with ferny appearance. Where happy and doesn't freeze back, can grow to 8 or 10 feet in height. Narrow, red tubular flowers are hummingbird magnets.
Cultural Requirements Sun-part shade, average water.
Mature size, Spacing Height: in ground to 4' - 8'. In containers branches grow to about 30" or so.
Other Information Well suited for container and hanging basket culuture, especially where not winter hardy.  beebflyhummer


Botanical Name Russelia equisetiformis, yellow
Common Name Yellow RusseliaYellow Firecracker Plant
Attribute Like red form, tender perennial shrub with arching branches with ferny appearance. Where happy and doesn't freeze back, can grow to 8 or 10 feet in height. Narrow, yellow tubular flowers are hummingbird magnets.
Cultural Requirements Sun-part shade, average water.
Mature size, Spacing Height: in ground to 4' - 8'. In containers branches grow to about 30" or so.
Other Information Well suited for container and hanging basket culuture, especially where not winter hardy. Planted with red form, creates an interesting contrast. Will not cross with red form.  beebflyhummer


Botanical Name Russelia sarmontosa
Common Name Russelia    
Attribute Tender perennial shrub with arching or scrambling branches with broad sticky leaves and whorls of tubular red flowers on long spikes.
Cultural Requirements Part shade, average water.
Mature size, Spacing To 5' X 5'.
Other Information hummerBlooms October-December in mild areas.


Botanical Name Salvia coccinea, "Lady in Red"
Common Name Texas Sage, red; Hummingbird Sage    
Attribute Perennial or reseeding annual
Cultural Requirements Sun to part shade, average to low water usage.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 36"
Other Information beebflyhummerBright red flowers are hummingbird magnet. Nice in large planting or as specimen plant. In mild climate, is almost ever-blooming, especially if deadheaded or cut back occasionally.


Botanical Name Stachytarpheta auticifolia
Common Name Blue Porterweed
Attribute Tender perennial. Reseeds. Tall spikes of small bluish-purple flowers.
Cultural Requirements Full sun to part shade. Average water.
Mature size, Spacing Rather sprawling plant to about 24".
Other Information bee


Botanical Name Stachytarpheta auticifolia, var. lavender
Common Name Lavender Porterweed
Attribute Tender perennial. Reseeds. Tall spikes of small bright lavender flowers.
Cultural Requirements Full sun to part shade. Average water.
Mature size, Spacing Rather sprawling plant to about 24".
Other Information bee


Botanical Name Tecoma stans
Common Name Esperanza, Yellow Bells    
Attribute Tender Perennial
Cultural Requirements Full sun, part shade, low water.
Mature size, Spacing Ht. to 10', spread 4' or 5'
Other Information bflyBright yellow bell flowers cover this shrubby specimen all summer into fall. Texas native that does well elsewhere.




Botanical Name Tecomaria capensis
Common Name Cape Honeysuckle
Attribute Evergreen Perennial, where hardy. Brilliant orange/red blossoms in fall and winter. Finely cut, dark green leaflets.
Cultural Requirements Full sun to light shade. Good drainage. Can take wind, drought, salt, sandy soil.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: to 20' or more as a scrambling vine. 6' - 8' as an upright shrub if pruned hard.
Other Information Native to South Africa. Good as ground cover on slope or, pruned, as a barrier hedge.


Botanical Name Aristolochia elegans
Common Name Calico Vine, Dutchman's Pipe Vine   
Attribute Tender perennial. Very unusual flowers shaped sort of like a pipe in a dark brown/maroon color with white spots. Greyish green leaves can get quite large.
Cultural Requirements Part shade, average water.
Mature size, Spacing Will vine to 12' or so. Needs support.
Other Information Mature leaves can get quite large. Evergreen in Zones 8 and up.
Availability March-November


Botanical Name Tecoma radicans, Campsis radicans
Common Name Trumpet Creeper, 'Madame Galen'
Attribute Vigorous perennial, evergreen creeper
Cultural Requirements Full sun to part shade, average water
Mature size, Spacing Can grow quite large and cover walls, trees, etc.
Other Information Has suckers for climbing, will crawl on ground, very vigorous. Mature speciman can be pruned into "tree" shape.