Planting Guide

Host Plants

Host plants are needed to ensure a full life cycle from laying eggs to a reliable food source.

Monarch butterfly 

  • Milkweeds – increase the chance of monarchs staying on property longer
    • Aquatic milkweed
    • White milkweed
    • Butterfly milkweed for the Southeast region

Swallowtail butterfly 

  • Trees
    butterfly puddling caterpillars at callaway gardens 2013 (10)

    Caterpillar on fennel

    • Yellow poplar
    • Black cherry
    • Plum
    • Red maple (Eastern tiger swallowtail)
    • Pawpaws (Zebra swallowtail)
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Fennel (Black swallowtail)

Nectar Plants

Recommended to have four varieties of flowering and strong-scented plants that bloom throughout the season. Plant in a group for a splash of color to attract butterflies.

  • Annuals: verbena, zinnias, salvia, marigolds, cleome, Sweet William
  • Perennials: Black-eyed Susan, goldenrod, purplse coneflower, salvia, pholx, bee balm
  • Additional: azalea, butterfly weed, lantana, crab apple

Garden Features

  • Create a designated path to avoid stepping on plants & butterflies
  • Recommended size: 100 sq. ft. that can be split among several sites
  • Shelter from predators & the elements
    • Plant milkweeds & nectar plants close together
    • Butterfly houses (if natural shelter is not available)
  • Puddling sites (moist sandy soil/rocks in shallow water with sand)
  • Hummingbird feeders
  • Plant identification signs

Additional Tips

  • At least six hours of sunlight per day
  • Have 10 plants of two or more species of milkweed
  • Avoid pesticides:
    • Marigolds, petunias, and mint repel pests
    • Encourage ladybugs

To learn more about the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, contact Annette Wise at plainsed[at]

Rosalynn Carter’s Butterfly Garden, established April 2013, is the beginning of the trail, Mrs. Carter established her garden to bring awareness to conserving butterflies, their habitats and for her love of nature.