Best Bets: What to Plant

Below are your best bets to attract butterflies and moths in the US mid-Atlantic region.

Learn more about the study from which these numbers were derived or download the complete list of data from this study (an Excel spreadsheet).

Woody Plants

Common Name Plant Genus Butterfly/moth species supported
Oak Quercus 534
Black cherry Prunus 456
Willow Salix 455
Birch Betula 413
Poplar Populus 368
Crabapple Malus 311
Blueberry Vaccinium 288
Maple Acer 285
Elm Ulmus 213
Pine Pinus 203
Hickory Carya 200
Hawthorn Crataegus 159
Spruce Picea 156
Alder Alnus 156
Basswood Tilia 150
Ash Fraxinus 150
Rose Rosa 139
Filbert Corylus 131
Walnut Juglans 130
Beech Fagus 126
Chestnut Castanea 125

Herbaceous Plants

Common Name Plant Genus Butterfly/moth species supported
Goldenrod Solidago 115
Asters Aster 112
Sunflower Helianthus 73
Joe pye, Boneset Eupatorium 42
Morning glory Ipomoea 39
Sedges Carex 36
Honeysuckle Lonicera 36
Lupine Lupinus 33
Violets Viola 29
Geraniums Geranium 23
Black-eyed susan Rudbeckia 17
Iris Iris 17
Evening primrose Oenothera 16
Milkweed Asclepias 12
Verbena Verbena 11
Beardtongue Penstemon 8
Phlox Phlox 8
Bee balm Monarda 7
Veronica Veronica 6
Little bluestem Schizachyrium 6
Cardinal flower Lobelia 4