Plants for Pollinators

Photo by Pamela Pray

Photo by Pamela Pray

nectar plants which attract pollinators


Aster spp.
Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.)
Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Blazing Stars (Liatris spp.)
Butterfly-weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Cardinal-flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Ceanothus spp.
Coreopsis spp.
Goldenrods (Solidago spp.)
Ironweed (Vernonia spp.)
Joe-pye-weeds (Eupatorium spp.)
Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.)
Phlox spp.
Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Sumacs (Rhus spp.)
Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.)
Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia)
Verbena spp.


Caterpillar Food Sources

In order to ensure that butterflies reside in your yard, include host plants that serve as larval food. Butterflies almost invariably lay their eggs on the host plant preferred by the caterpillar. Do not panic when you see chewed foliage; usually no permanent damage is done to the plants. Some butterflies common to SC and their host plants are:

  • American Lady- Asteraceae or Compositae (commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, or sunflower family)

  • Banded Hairstreak- oaks, hickory, walnut

  • Black Swallowtail- parsley, dill, fennel, Queen Anne's lace, common rue

  • Buckeye- ruellia, snapdragon, plantain, verbena, toadflax, monkeyflower

  • Cabbage White- many plants in mustard family and nasturtium

  • Checkered White- peppergrass, winter cress, bladderpods, tumble mustards

  • Checkered Skipper- mallows, sida, globe mallows, hollyhock, velvet-leaf

  • Clouded Sulphur- clovers

  • Common Sooty-wing- lamb's quarters, amaranth tumbleweed

  • Common Wood-nymph-grasses

  • Coral Hairstreak- wild black cherry, American and Chickasaw plum, block chokeberry

  • Dogface- lead plant, indigo bush, prairie clover, false indigo

  • Dream Dusky Wing- willows, poplar, aspen, and birch

  • Dun Skipper- sedges, grasses including purpletop

  • Easter Tailed Blue- clover, trefoils, peas, vetches, alfalfa

  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail- wild black cherry, ash, tulip tree, willow, sweetbay, basswood

  • Field Crescent- asters

  • Fiery Skipper- Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, bluegrass

  • Giant Swallowtail- prickly ash, citrus, common rue, hoptree, gas plant, torchwood

  • Gray Comma- gooseberry, azalea, elm

  • Gray Hairstreak- many pea and mallow family members, many others

  • Great Purple Hairstreak- mistletoe, Phoradendron flavescens

  • Great Spangled Fritillary- violets

  • Gulf Fritillary- maypops, other passion vines

  • Hackberry Butterfly- hackberry, sugarberry, Celtis spp.

  • Henry's Elfin- redbud, American, dahoon and yaupon hollies, maple-leaved viburnum, blueberries

  • Hoary Edge- tick trefoils, false indigo, lespedezas

  • Least Skipperling- grasses including cutgrass, bluegrass

  • Little Copper- sheep sorrel, curled dock

  • Little Wood Satyr- grasses including orchard grass, centipede grass and St. Augustine grass

  • Long-tailed Skipper- wisteria, pole beans, tick trefoil, butterfly pea, hog peanut

  • Monarch- milkweeds (Get Milkweed Seeds or Seedlings Here)

  • Mourning Cloak- willows, American elm, quaking aspen, paper birch, hackberry

  • Painted Lady (Cosmopolite)- thistles, mallows, nievitas, yellow fiddleneck

  • Pearl Crescent- asters

  • Pipe-vine swallowtail- Dutchman's pipe, wooly pipevine, Virginia snakeroot

  • Pygmy Blue- saltbush, lamb's quarters, pigweed

  • Question Mark- elm, hackberry, nettles, hops

  • Red Admiral/ White Admiral- wild cherries, black oaks, aspens, yellow and black birch

  • Roadside Skipper- bluegrass, oats, Bermuda grass

  • Sachem- grasses, including Bermuda grass

  • Spring Azure- dogwoods, wild clack cherry, viburnums, staghorn, sumac, others

  • Sulphurs- clover, peas, vetch, alfalfa, asters, Cassia spp.

  • Sylvan Hairstreak- willows

  • Tawny Emperor- hackberry, sugarberry

  • Variegated Fritillary- passion flower, maypop, violets, stonecrop, purslane

  • Viceroy- willows, cottonwood, aspen

  • Woodland Skipper- grasses

  • Zebra- passion vines

  • Zebra Longwing Swallowtail- pawpaw