Butterflies and their associated plants

A little about butterflies and their associated plants.

Butterflies and their associated plants

Butterflies develop through a four-stage metamorphosis process – egg, caterpillar (larva), chrysalis(pupa), and adult (butterfly). Butterflies need both host and nectar plants to survive and thrive during the four stages.

life cycle of a Monarch Butterfly

Host plants provide a place for butterflies to lay their eggs, provide food during the caterpillar stage, and shelter during the chrysalis stage. Different types of butterflies utilize different host plants.  (Please refer to the link at the bottom for a list of butterflies and their host plants)  Nectar plants provide energy for adult butterflies.

The most common North Texas butterflies are black and tiger swallowtails; gulf fritillaries; monarchs and queens; red admirals; sulphurs; skippers; and hairstreaks.

At Lake Highlands Community Garden, both the Butterfly Garden and Rain Garden are registered Monarch Way Stations. Each of these gardens include host and nectar plants to support monarchs and a variety of other butterflies,.  Pollinators plants are also a feature in containers around the garden and many of the individual garden plots provide nectar for pollinators.

Monarchs migrate to/from Mexico in the spring and fall. The only host plant that monarchs utilize is milkweed, while many different plants can provide nectar. Both the Butterfly and Rain Gardens have multiple types of native milkweed to support the monarchs.

For more information about plants that will provide food and nectar sources for various North Texas butterflies visit:


For more information about the Rain Garden visit: LHCG Rain Garden Plants

Thank you Louise Ellam, LHCG Board Member, for this post.