20 Plants That Attract Butterflies in Texas

The purpose of this article is to provide readers with a list of 20 plants that are known to attract butterflies in Texas.

It includes information on the specific characteristics of each plant, as well as tips on how to design and maintain a garden that is attractive to butterflies.

The article is intended to help readers create a beautiful and vibrant outdoor space that also serves as a habitat for these important pollinators.

If you’re looking to attract butterflies to your Texan garden, look no further! Texas is home to a wide variety of butterfly species, and planting the right flora can create a haven for these vibrant beauties.

Let’s explore 20 plants that are perfect for turning your garden into a butterfly hotspot.

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)

Milkweed, with its beautiful and unique flowers, is a vital plant for attracting butterflies, particularly the Monarch butterfly.

As the main source of food for Monarch caterpillars, milkweed is essential for their survival and reproduction.

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)

By including milkweed in your Texas garden, you are not only creating an inviting space for butterflies but also contributing to the conservation of these magnificent creatures.

Here is a quick overview of the milkweed plant:

  • Plant Species: Asclepias spp.
  • Plant Family: Apocynaceae
  • Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennial
  • Flowering Time: Late spring to early fall
  • Distribution: Throughout North America, with some species native to Texas
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Plant Part Used: Leaves, stem, and flowers for butterfly attraction

In addition to its essential role in the Monarch butterfly life cycle, milkweed also attracts other butterfly species, bees, and hummingbirds.

It is a versatile plant, tolerant of various soil types and environmental conditions, making it an excellent choice for a low-maintenance and wildlife-friendly garden in Texas.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

The Butterfly Bush, scientifically known as Buddleia davidii, is a staple for many butterfly gardens in Texas.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

This bush is not only famous for its ability to attract butterflies but also for its effortless growth and vibrant colors.

Here are the plant details:

  • Plant Species: Buddleia davidii
  • Plant Family: Scrophulariaceae
  • Growth Habit: Deciduous shrub
  • Flowering Time: Summer to fall
  • Distribution: Native to Central China, widely grown in Texas
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, leaves

The Butterfly Bush is easy to grow and maintain, as it is drought-tolerant and deer-resistant. It thrives in various soil types, including clay and sandy soils.

It produces elongated clusters of flowers, typically in shades of pink, purple, and white, which make it visually appealing to both gardeners and butterflies alike.

Transforming your landscape into a butterfly haven is a worthwhile endeavor in environmental conservation.

Planting a Butterfly Bush in your Texas garden will ensure the mesmerizing ballet of these beautiful pollinators.

Moreover, you will be contributing to the ecosystem by providing a rich source of nectar for the butterflies and other beneficial insects.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Purple coneflower, or Echinacea purpurea, is a popular perennial that attracts butterflies with its beautiful and brightly colored flowers.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

These plants are not only an eye-catcher in your garden, but they also provide many benefits for both humans and wild fauna.

Here is more information about Purple Coneflower:

  • Plant Species: Echinacea purpurea
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Perennial herb with upright, branching stems
  • Flowering Time: Summer to early fall
  • Distribution: Native to the eastern United States and eastern Texas
  • Life Cycle: Long-lived perennial that can survive for many years
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, leaves, and roots

In addition to attracting pollinators, Echinacea purpurea is known for its medicinal properties.

The plant has been traditionally used to boost the immune system and fight infections, as well as treat skin conditions like eczema and inflammation.

The flowers also make for a beautiful cut flower in arrangements.

When planting these flowers, choose a location with well-draining soil and full sun to light shade.

Be sure to give them plenty of space, as they can reach a height of 3-4 feet and spread out to about 2 feet wide.

With their stunning flowers and beneficial properties, Purple Coneflowers are an excellent choice for your Texas butterfly garden.

Lantana (Lantana camara)

Lantana is a beautiful and colorful perennial that thrives in Texas and is known for attracting butterflies, particularly the Gulf Fritillary and Julias butterflies.

Lantana (Lantana camara)

This hardy plant is drought resistant, making it a great choice for low-maintenance gardens.

Its vibrant blooms in orange, red, yellow, pink, or white not only enchant butterflies but add a splash of color to any landscape.

Since Lantana is not picky about its soil requirements, it can easily adapt to grow in different environments.

  • Plant Species: Lantana camara
  • Plant Family: Verbenaceae
  • Growth Habit: Perennial shrub
  • Flowering Time: Spring to fall
  • Distribution: Texas and other southern US states, Central and South America
  • Life Cycle: Perennial in warmer climates, annual in colder areas
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, leaves

To make the most out of Lantana’s attraction to butterflies, plant them in groups or clusters to draw in more winged pollinators.

Besides its benefits for butterflies, Lantana also serves as a nectar source for bees and hummingbirds.

However, please note that all parts of the Lantana camara plant are toxic if ingested, so plant them in areas away from curious pets and children.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-Eyed Susan is a charming and versatile wildflower, perfect for attracting butterflies in Texas.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

With its vibrant color and easy-to-grow nature, this plant is a must-have for any garden aiming to attract these beautiful winged creatures.

As you watch butterflies flit from flower to flower, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate the addition of Black-Eyed Susan to your landscape.

Here’s a quick overview of this lovely plant:

  • Plant Species: Rudbeckia hirta
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennial
  • Flowering Time: June to September
  • Distribution: Native to North America, commonly found in Texas
  • Life Cycle: Biennial or short-lived perennial
  • Plant Part Used: Flower

Black-Eyed Susans are known for their showy, daisy-like flowers with dark centers surrounded by bright yellow petals.

They thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, making them ideal for butterfly gardens in Texas.

Besides providing nectar for butterflies, these plants also support the larvae of certain butterfly species, such as the Pearl Crescent and Silvery Checkerspot.

In conclusion, adding Black-Eyed Susan to your garden is an excellent way to attract butterflies and enhance the beauty of your outdoor space.

Plus, these plants are low-maintenance, making them perfect for busy gardeners or those new to butterfly gardening.

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

Goldenrod is a noteworthy plant that cleverly lures butterflies to your garden.

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

This colorful shrub features clusters of bright yellow flowers that add a touch of flair to any landscape.

Not only do its vibrant flowers create an eye-catching effect, but they also provide a rich source of nectar for various butterflies, ensuring your garden remains aflutter.

  • Plant Species: Solidago spp.
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Perennial, erect stems with alternate leaves and spires of tiny, yellow flowers.
  • Flowering Time: Late summer to fall.
  • Distribution: Throughout North America, with particular prevalence in Texas.
  • Life Cycle: Perennial plants that return year after year, producing flowers in their second year and beyond.
  • Plant Part Used: Aerial parts, including leaves and flowers.

Goldenrod plants are adaptable and easy to maintain, making them a fantastic addition to any butterfly garden.

Their hardy nature allows them to thrive in diverse conditions, while their extensive root systems help keep soil from eroding. So, why not include some goldenrod in your butterfly-friendly Texas garden?

This striking plant is sure to attract an assortment of beautiful butterflies and create a delightful environment for both you and them to enjoy.

Salvia (Salvia spp.)

Salvia, also known as sage, is a diverse and beautiful plant that is not only a favorite of garden enthusiasts but also a magnet for Texas butterflies.

Salvia (Salvia spp.)

With hundreds of species available that differ in color, size, and foliage, you are guaranteed to find one that suits your landscape and attracts those colorful winged visitors.

Besides, with their long-lasting bloom season and low maintenance, your garden could turn into a bustling butterfly oasis throughout the year.

Plus, these plants are known to be drought-tolerant, which is an added bonus in the hot Texas climate.

  • Plant Species: Salvia greggii, Salvia farinacea, Salvia coccinea, Salvia leucantha, etc.
  • Plant Family: Lamiaceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright, mounding, spreading
  • Flowering Time: Spring to fall
  • Distribution: Texas and other parts of the United States, Mexico, Central, and South America
  • Life Cycle: Perennial, Biennial, Annual
  • Plant Part Used: Foliage, flowers

Next time you’re looking to add some color and life to your Texas garden, make sure to add a few varieties of Salvia.

They’ll not only bring visual interest and texture, but they’ll attract beautiful butterflies, creating a vibrant landscape all season long.

Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

Joe Pye Weed, also known as Eutrochium purpureum, is a perennial herbaceous plant native to the eastern and central regions of North America.

Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

This attractive flowering plant is a favorite among butterfly enthusiasts, as it serves as a reliable source of nectar for various species of butterflies.

  • Plant Species: Eutrochium purpureum
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Perennial herbaceous plant
  • Flowering Time: July to September
  • Distribution: Eastern and Central North America
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Plant Part Used: Leaves and flowers

Joe Pye Weed can grow up to 6 feet tall, and its mauve-pink flowers bloom in dense clusters at the top of the plant.

It has a preference for moist soils and can often be found in wetlands, meadows, and along stream banks.

This plant is deer-resistant and tolerates a variety of soil types, making it an excellent addition to any butterfly garden.

Planting Joe Pye Weed alongside other butterfly-attracting plants, such as milkweed, purple coneflower, and black-eyed Susan, will not only create a beautiful garden display but also provide a much-needed habitat for butterflies and other pollinators.

So, next time you plan your butterfly garden, make sure to include Joe Pye Weed in your selection.

Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

Zinnia elegans, commonly known as Zinnia, is a popular plant among gardeners who want to attract butterflies.

Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

These bright, cheerful flowers come in a wide range of colors, making them a visual treat for both you and the butterflies.

Not only do they add a pop of color to your garden, but they also serve as a valuable nectar source for various butterfly species.

Zinnias are quite easy to grow, even for beginners. They prefer well-drained soil and a sunny location.

You can use zinnias as border plants or tuck them in between other perennials for a colorful surprise. They are drought-tolerant, which makes them perfect for Texas gardens.

Plus, they’re deer-resistant, so your butterfly oasis won’t become a buffet for unwanted wildlife.

Here is some valuable information about Zinnia elegans:

  • Plant Species: Zinnia elegans
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Herbaceous annual
  • Flowering Time: Summer to frost
  • Distribution: Native to Mexico, widely cultivated in gardens worldwide
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Plant Part Used: Flower for nectar sources and seeds for planting

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)

Mexican Sunflower, or Tithonia rotundifolia, stands out with its bright orange flowers, capable of charming butterflies to your garden in Texas.

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)

This sunflower variety thrives in hot, sunny places and can grow up to 4-6 feet tall, adding excitement and color to your landscape.

The delightful fragrance of its blooms entices a wide range of butterflies like monarchs, swallowtails, and painted ladies.

Mexican Sunflower is an astonishingly low maintenance plant and is quite drought-tolerant, which makes it a perfect addition to any Texan garden.

Remember to deadhead the spent flowers to encourage continuous flowering throughout the season.

Here’s a quick overview of the plant’s characteristics:

  • Plant Species: Tithonia rotundifolia
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright, bushy
  • Flowering Time: Summer to fall
  • Distribution: Texas, Mexico, and Central America
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Plant Part Used: Leaves and flowers

Mexican Sunflower’s vibrant allure creates an inviting atmosphere for butterflies, making it an excellent choice for your Texas garden.

Simply sow the seeds or plant seedlings in a sunny, well-draining location and watch as it becomes a bustling hub for these enchanting winged creatures.

Aster (Aster spp.)

Asters are one of those lovely perennials that you can easily spot in gardens and natural landscapes across Texas.

Aster (Aster spp.)

With their broad, colorful daisy-like flowers, they make an attractive addition to any garden, while providing a nectar-rich meal for passing butterflies.

Asters bloom from late summer to fall, offering a vibrant splash of color just as other flowers begin to fade, which is why they’re excellent for attracting butterflies.

Now let’s take a closer look at the distinctive aspects of asters:

  • Plant Species: Aster spp.
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennials with upright stems and lance-shaped leaves
  • Flowering Time: Late summer to early fall
  • Distribution: More than 180 species native to North America; found throughout Texas
  • Life Cycle: Most species are perennial, meaning they come back year after year
  • Plant Part Used: Aromatic flower heads for nectar

When planting asters, make sure to give them enough space to spread out, as they tend to form large clumps.

Pair them with other late-season blooming plants, like goldenrod and black-eyed Susan, to create a colorful and butterfly-friendly fall display.

Ironweed (Vernonia spp.)

Ironweed is a group of flowering plants known for their vibrant purple flowers that can create a beautiful display in your garden.

Ironweed (Vernonia spp.)

These perennials are native to North America and serve as a reliable source of nectar for butterflies.

  • Plant Species: There are approximately 1000 species of Vernonia, with several native to Texas.
  • Plant Family: The Asteraceae family.
  • Growth Habit: Ironweed typically grows up to 3-8 feet tall and has an upright, clumping nature.
  • Flowering Time: These plants begin blooming in the mid-summer to early fall, providing a vivid burst of color to the landscape.
  • Distribution: Ironweed is widespread in prairies, meadows, and woodlands in North America, and several species are found in Texas.
  • Life Cycle: As perennials, ironweeds return each year from their rootstock, creating a long-lasting addition to your garden.
  • Plant Part Used: The flowers are the primary attraction for butterflies, but the foliage and seeds are also valuable resources for other wildlife.

Planting ironweed will not only enhance your garden’s beauty but also attract butterflies, making it a perfect addition to your Texas landscape.

Phlox (Phlox spp.)

Phlox is a delightful and diverse group of flowering plants that not only attract butterflies but also provide stunning visual appeal in your garden.

Phlox (Phlox spp.)

These plants vary in size and color palette, with blooms ranging from white and pink to bright red, purple, and blue.

Phlox plants are hardy, low-maintenance, and can handle the Texas heat, making them an excellent choice for attracting butterflies.

Here are some key characteristics of Phlox:

  • Plant Species: Phlox paniculata, Phlox subulata, Phlox maculata, and others
  • Plant Family: Polemoniaceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright, spreading, or mounding, depending on species
  • Flowering Time: Late spring to early fall
  • Distribution: Throughout North America, often native to woodlands, meadows, and moist habitats
  • Life Cycle: Perennial, although some species can be treated as annuals
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers and foliage

Consider incorporating Phlox into your butterfly garden for an appealing display of color, texture, and fragrance.

By choosing the right varieties that thrive in your local climate, you’ll be creating a haven for a variety of butterfly species while also enjoying a beautiful landscape feature in your outdoor space.

Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

Blazing Star, also known as Liatris spicata, is an excellent plant to attract butterflies in your Texas garden.

Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

Its vibrant, tall purple flower spikes create a dazzling display and serve as a nectar haven for butterflies and other pollinators.

The plant is easy to grow and can add height and texture to your garden, attracting a wide variety of butterflies including monarchs, swallowtails, and skippers.

In addition to its stunning beauty, Blazing Star is drought-tolerant and deer-resistant, making it a low-maintenance yet striking choice for your butterfly-friendly space.

  • Plant Species: Liatris spicata
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright, clump-forming perennial
  • Flowering Time: Mid to late summer
  • Distribution: Native to eastern and central North America, can be found throughout Texas
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, nectar for butterflies

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

Sunflowers are not only a stunning addition to your garden but also a magnet for butterflies.

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

Their bright yellow petals and intricate centers make them eye-catching and attractive to both insects and humans.

Sunflowers are relatively low maintenance and can tolerate a range of soil types and conditions, making them an ideal choice for Texas gardens.

Plus, they provide nutritious seeds that birds, including the iconic Texas state bird, the Northern Cardinal, will also appreciate.

  • Plant Species: Helianthus annuus
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Annual, upright, large, bushy appearance
  • Flowering Time: Mid-summer to early fall
  • Distribution: Native to North America, cultivated worldwide
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, seeds

Planting sunflowers in your garden is a great way to attract butterflies to your yard and, at the same time, add a touch of vibrancy and color.

They are easy to grow, require minimal maintenance, and are sure to brighten up your outdoor space.

Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)

Pentas, also known as Pentas lanceolata or Egyptian Starcluster, is a beautiful flowering plant native to eastern and southern Africa.

Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)

This plant is a popular choice for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your Texas garden due to its vibrant, star-shaped flowers that come in various shades of white, pink, red, and purple.

The Pentas plant is easy to grow, and it thrives in well-drained soil with access to full sun.

  • Plant Species: Pentas lanceolata
  • Plant Family: Rubiaceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright, bushy growth with clusters of star-shaped flowers
  • Flowering Time: Spring through fall
  • Distribution: Native to eastern and southern Africa; widely cultivated in Texas gardens
  • Life Cycle: Perennial in warmer USDA zones (9-11); can also be grown as an annual
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers and foliage attract butterflies and hummingbirds

Planting Pentas in your Texas garden not only adds a touch of color and vibrancy, but also creates a welcoming environment for butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

Enjoy the beauty and benefits of this stunning plant while also contributing to the well-being of your local ecosystem.

Verbena (Verbena spp.)

Verbena is a versatile and beautiful plant that adds splashes of color to your garden and attracts butterflies with its sweet fragrance and nectar-rich flowers.

Verbena (Verbena spp.)

Ranging from perennials to annuals, these flowering plants are easy to grow and maintain, making them an excellent choice for butterfly gardens in Texas.

  • Plant Species: Verbena species include V. bonariensis, V. canadensis, V. rigida, V. hastata, and more.
  • Plant Family: Verbenaceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright or sprawling, with clusters of tubular flowers
  • Flowering Time: Late spring to fall, depending on the species
  • Distribution: North, Central, and South America, as well as parts of Europe and Asia
  • Life Cycle: Annual, perennial, or biennial depending on the species
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, leaves, and stems for ornamental purposes

When planting Verbena in your butterfly garden, choose a location with well-draining soil and full sun exposure. They can tolerate drought and heat, making them suitable for the Texan climate.

Additionally, Verbena serves as the perfect companion plant for other butterfly favorites like Lantana, Black-Eyed Susan, and Coneflower.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow is a versatile and hardy plant that can be found in a variety of habitats across Texas.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Its delicate, feathery leaves and clusters of tiny white or pink flowers make it a beautiful addition to any butterfly garden. Yarrow is known for attracting a diverse range of butterflies, as well as other pollinators like bees.

So, if you are looking to bring more life and color to your garden, look no further than this amazing plant.

  • Plant Species: Achillea millefolium
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright growth with clusters of small flowers at the top
  • Flowering Time: Late spring through early fall
  • Distribution: Native to Europe, western Asia, and North America; now widespread in Texas
  • Life Cycle: Perennial, which means it can come back year after year
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, especially as an attractive nectar source for butterflies

Planting yarrow in your garden is not only a great choice for attracting butterflies, but it also offers many benefits for the garden itself.

Yarrow is drought-tolerant, making it an excellent choice for Texas’ arid climate; it is also low-maintenance and helps improve soil quality by releasing essential nutrients.

With its numerous benefits and beautiful appearance, yarrow surely deserves a place in your butterfly garden.

Passionflower Vine (Passiflora incarnata)

The Passionflower Vine is a stunning plant with intricate, colorful blossoms that are sure to grab the attention of not only butterflies but also gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike.

Passionflower Vine (Passiflora incarnata)

It’s a fantastic plant to include in your butterfly-attracting garden, as it provides not only food for the adult butterflies but also a host plant for the larvae of various species, including the Gulf Fritillary and the Zebra Longwing.

  • Plant Species: Passiflora incarnata
  • Plant Family: Passifloraceae
  • Growth Habit: Vining perennial
  • Flowering Time: Summer to early fall
  • Distribution: Southeastern United States
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, leaves, and stems

The Passionflower Vine is native to the southeastern U.S., including Texas, making it well-suited for local gardens. In addition to attracting butterflies, it’s also a favorite of hummingbirds, making it an excellent choice for a wildlife-friendly garden.

Plant your Passionflower Vine in a sunny spot with well-draining soil and support for the vine to climb, such as a trellis or fence.

It can tolerate a variety of soil types but prefers slightly acidic conditions. Regular pruning will help maintain its shape and encourage bushier growth.

Incorporating a Passionflower Vine into your butterfly-attracting garden is a beautiful and practical way to support local pollinators while adding interest and color to your landscape.

Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

Coral Honeysuckle is a stunning plant that not only attracts butterflies but also hummingbirds to your garden.

Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

This vigorous vine produces clusters of trumpet-shaped crimson or orange-red flowers throughout the growing season, providing nectar for our fluttering friends.

Coral Honeysuckle is a low-maintenance plant that can be grown on a trellis or fence, or even as a ground cover.

Some key features of Coral Honeysuckle are:

  • Plant Species: Lonicera sempervirens
  • Plant Family: Caprifoliaceae
  • Growth Habit: Vine
  • Flowering Time: Spring through summer, with possible year-round blooms in warmer climates
  • Distribution: Southeastern US, including Texas
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, leaves, and stems

Plant your Coral Honeysuckle in sunny to partially shaded locations, with well-draining soil. Give it space to climb or let it ramble as it pleases.

As a bonus, beyond being a beautiful addition to your garden and a treat for butterflies, its red berries also provide sustenance for birds.

This versatile and enchanting vine is truly a valuable asset to any Texas garden.


Incorporating these 20 plants into your Texas garden will not only create a beautiful and vibrant landscape, but also help attract butterflies to your outdoor space.

Remember, supporting this stunning winged wildlife is crucial for maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

We’d love to hear about your successes and favorite plants for attracting butterflies, so please share your experiences or ask questions in the comments below!

Butterflies   Updated: June 19, 2023
avatar Welcome to Insectic, a blog to learn about insects and bugs. I'm Richard, and I've created this website to share my experience, knowledge, and passion with others.

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