ggmgLogoGreater Greenville Master Gardeners
Greenville, South Carolina
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The Greater Greenville Master Gardeners
maintain the butterfly garden at Roper
Mountain Science Center.

Visit the Butterfly Garden on Second Saturday of each month (March thru November) and you can ask questions of Master Gardeners who work in the the garden. There is an entrance fee on those Saturdays. RMSC Second Saturday link
Roper Mountain Butterfly Garden

What is a Butterfly Garden?

A butterfly garden is simply a garden, with plant material that attracts butterflies. The general needs of butterflies are host plants and nectar plants. Host plants are the plants eaten by the caterpillar or larvae of the butterfly.

Each species of butterfly has a specific plant that the adult butterfly lays her eggs on and which the caterpillar will eat. Nectar plants are the food of the adult butterfly. They use a proboscis to sip nectar from the flowers of the plant. A butterfly garden also needs protection from the wind. Many butterflies like a damp spot or mud hole for puddling. Finally, butterflies like sunny areas and some rocks to rest on and soak up the sun.

In 2002, the Roper Mountain Butterfly Garden was certified as a National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitat. This certification means that wildlife is provided food, shelter, water and a place to raise the young on these grounds.


Nectar plants include these butterfly “magnets”:
‘Miss Huff’ Lantana
Butterfly Bush or Buddleia davidii
Verbena bonariensis
Purple Coneflower or Echinacea purpurea
Butterfly weed or Asclepias tuberosa

Host plants are the most important plants in the garden.
Below is a list of common butterflies in our area and their host plants -
Butterfly Species:   Host Plants:
American lady   Anaphalis, cudweed, Antennaria
Black Swallowtail   fennel, parsley, rue, dill, Queen Anne's Lace
Buckeye   Snapdragon, plantain, Linaria, Verbena
Cabbage white   cabbage, Cleome, Nasturtium, mustard, Lunaria
Cloudless sulphur   Senna, Cassia, clover
Eastern Tailed Blue   legume family, clover, alfalfa
Falcate orange tip   mustard family, Winter Cress
Giant swallowtail   prickly ash, rue, citrus, hop trees
Gray hairstreak   mallow, hollyhock, legumes, Rabbit's Foot Clover
Great purple hairstreak   mistletoe
Great spangled fritillary   violet
Gulf fritillary   passion-vine
Long-tailed skipper   legumes (pole bean, garden bean), wisteria
Monarch   Asclepias species (milkweed)
Mourning cloak   willow, poplar, elm, nettle
Painted lady   thistle, hollyhock, Plantain
Pearl crescent   aster
Pipevine swallowtail   Aristolochia (pipevine),Virginia Snakeroot
Question Mark   hops, hackberry, nettle, elm
Red Admiral    nettle
Red-spotted purple   willow, poplar, cherry, plum, apple, aspen 
Silver-spotted skipper   locust, American wisteria
Sleepy Orange   Cassia, senna, clover
Spicebush swallowtail   Lindera benzoin (spicebush), sassafras
Spring azure   dogwood blossoms, Viburnum, blueberry
Tiger Swallowtail   wild cherry, poplar, willow, birch
Variegated fritillary   passion-vine, violet
Zebra swallowtail   Asimina (pawpaw)



To see pictures and learn more about butterflies in our area, click on “Butterflies of North America” located at
This site allows you to click on your state, and tells you what butterflies are there, and even narrows it down to the butterflies in your county.

We are very proud of our butterfly garden at Roper Mountain Science Center. Not only do we have beautiful flowers, but we have beautiful “flying flowers”.

Vounteer talking with a child during Second Saturday
Butterfly Garden Manager