Butterfly Plants for South Carolina

I sometimes get questions about what butterfly plants are good in South Carolina. These are some that have worked well for me personally here in the Midlands area.

Nectar Plants for Adults

These are also good for bees and other pollinators. Please be sure that plants are pesticide free, so get them from a local nursery (like Woodley’s) rather than a big box store.

  • Red Pentas
  • Zinnias
  • Lantana
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Baby’s Breath
  • Pineapple Sage
  • Abelia
  • Asters
  • Bee Balm
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Moon Flower Vine
  • Scarlet Sage
  • Verbena

Larval Plants for Caterpillars

Larval plants, where butterflies lay eggs and the caterpillars eat and grow, are species-specific. It is critical that these plants are pesticide-free, which means do not buy them from a big-box store like Lowe’s or Home Depot. Also, as caterpillars get bigger they eat MORE, so particularly in the case of fennel, be prepared to buy more as the cats grow. Otherwise they will starve before they are read to go into chrysalis.

Also, just FYI, if you are providing larval foods, you will attract predators like wasps.

  • Fennel – Eastern Black Swallowtail
  • Wax Myrtle – Red-Banded Hairstreak
  • Cassia Senna – Sleepy Orange, Cloudless Sulphur