Plants for a Butterfly Garden in Southeast Texas

Butterfly gardening in Southeast Texas means picking plants that have the right nectar and the ones that caterpillars love to eat. These plants also need to be hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness zones 8 and 9 for them to be of use in Southeast Texas. Create a unique butterfly garden for your landscape using any of these plants for inspiration.

Sweet Fennel

Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare, is also called anise, finocchio and Florence fennel. It is from the carrot family and is an edible annual that black swallowtail butterfly larvae feed on. It will get 2 feet in height with a long root. The plant smells like licorice. Plant this one in full sun in any soil with regular watering. Propagate via seed.


Calliopsis, Coreopsis tinctoria, is also called annual coreopsis, golden coreopsis or plains coreopsis. It is from the aster/daisy family and is a fast-growing annual that attracts butterflies (for the flowers) and hummingbirds. Leaves are 2 to 4 inches long on a 2- to 4-feet-tall plant. Flowers are yellow, orange, red, bronze or maroon and 2 inches wide. Plant this one in full sun in well-drained, dry soil. Propagate via seed and it may self-sow on its own.

Scarlet Milkweed

Scarlet milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, is also called bloodflower, Indian root, or silkweed. It is from the milkweed family and is an evergreen. Both monarch butterflies and queen butterflies use the scarlet milkweed to lay eggs on. It has 5-inch-long leaves with orange or red flowers 2 to 4 inches wide. The whole plant gets 3 to 4 feet tall. Plant this one in full sun to partial shade in any soil. Propagate via seed or cuttings.

Whorled Coreopsis

Whorled coreopsis, Coreopsis verticillata, is also called thread leaf coreopsis, pot of gold or thread leaved tickseed. It is from the aster/daisy family and is an easy to grow drought-resistant perennial that has large amounts of nectar. Whorled coreopsis gets 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall with flowers 2 inches wide and yellow. Plant this one in full sun in any soil. Propagate via seed or division every three years.

Butterfly Weed

Butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa, is also called pleurisy root or butterfly milkweed. It is from the milkweed family and is an easy to grow drought-tolerant perennial that monarch butterflies lay seeds on. Flowers are orange or red in clusters and bloom in summer. It is usually very low maintenance and trouble free. Plant this one in any soil in full sun or partial shade. Propagate via seed or tuber division.

Keywords: butterfly gardening, butterfly garden, plants for a butterfly garden

About this Author

Tina Samuels has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 10 years, concentrating on health and gardening topics, and a writer for 20 years. She has written for "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living," and "Mature Years," as well as online content. She has one book, “A Georgia Native Plant Guide,” offered through Mercer University; others are in development.