Most of us know that providing butterflies with nectar plants goes a long way in the preservation of these miraculous creatures. Did you know that Texas has more butterfly species than any other state? This is most likely due to Texas being located on the southern border of Mexico, and having a vast range of ecoregions within the state. By offering a number of different nectar sources, especially native nectar sources, you’ll be more likely to experience more of the varieties of butterflies that inhabit San Antonio, or at least pass through our great city and the huge state of Texas. Today we visit some of our favorite native nectar plants for butterflies.
San Antonio Native Nectar Plants for Butterflies
1. Salvias: For an easy-care, native, butterfly nectar plant that can offer blooms spring, summer and fall, you can’t choose better than salvias. Salvias offer plenty of nectar to butterflies and all sorts of other pollinators. Bloom color varies from white, pink, coral, red, and purple with variations of those hues in between. Occasional shearing of the plant promotes fresh blooms each season. Salvias are on the SAWS WaterSaver Landscape Coupon program.
2. Gregg’s Blue Mistflower: if you read our other nectar blog containing some of Rainbow Gardens’ favorite butterfly nectar plants, you probably noticed this plant was on it. That’s not a mistake. Gregg’s Blue Mist flower is a HUGE butterfly nectar plant! Put this one in your landscape and you are pretty much guaranteed a delightful display of an assortment of butterflies fluttering around for sips of nectar. Lots of them! Spreads like a groundcover, so offer it space in your gardens. This one is another SAWS approved plant.
3. Verbena Bonariensis (also called Vervain): These gorgeous perennials are truly a no-care nectar plant for butterflies. The purple-clustered flowers sit atop tall stems that don’t require staking. These are a perfect nectar plant to incorporate into the backdrops of your butterfly gardens. Combine it with some host plants so that butterflies laying their eggs can pop on top of the blooms and refuel easily. (Also attracts hummingbirds and bees.)
4. Native Lantana (Lantana urticoides/horrida): For another easy-care, perennial, butterfly nectar plant, native lantana is right up there with salvias. While all lantana offers nectar, we are particular to native lantana, as it not considered an invasive species, like other lantana camara varieties are. Bright red, orange, and yellow clusters of small, tubular flowers draw in the butterflies like magnets and appear spring through fall.
5. Native Purple Coneflower: These nectar plants attract all types of butterflies, and bees too! The vibrant petals and dome-shaped center full of nectar invites all pollinators to come have a feast. Coneflowers offer brilliant blooms in the heat of summer when some nectar plants have petered out from the blaze of the summer sun. Purple Coneflower comes back year after year so is a great addition to your perennial gardens. The butterflies will thank you.
There is a huge selection of more nectar plants out there for butterflies, and we’ve just tapped into a few. If you are interested in attracting butterflies to your landscape, we highly encourage you to research more of the links offered in this blog and many of our other blogs. Nectar and host plants are found in all varieties of plants: Trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, grasses, and vines. So whatever your preferences are in a type of plant, you are sure to find some butterfly nectar and/or host plant to suit your needs.
~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy