Plants in our gardens
Plants in our garden provide nectar for hungry butterflies, bees, wasps and flies. Certain species of plants such as the Swamp Milkweed also serve as host plants for caterpillars. In addition, our plants fall under two main types: native and exotic. Half of our gardens contain only native plants and the other half only exotic plants. We are interested whether plant type affect butterfly fate.
Why native plants ?
- Native plants require less maintenance, watering, or care because they are adapted to a particular area.
- Native plants will attract butterflies native to the region. Caterpillars are picky eaters and will eat only specific host plants; native plants provide these food sources.
- Some exotic plants grow with excessive vigor and compete for space with native plants. Some exotic plants could escape from your garden and threaten nearby wild habitat.
- Most ornamental plants are bred for color and bloom size, not for nectar production. While these cultivars may be attractive to us, many provide little benefit to wildlife because they can alter ecology of pollinators by providing food that differs in chemistry and timing from native plants.
Native garden plants are native to Chatham County, Georgia:
Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)
*Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea)
*Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)
New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)
Blazing Star (Liastris spp.)
Joe PyeWeed (Eupatorium fistulosum)
*Maypop (Passiflora incarnata)
Orange Coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida)
Exotic garden plants are non-native to the United States:
Spider Flower (Cleome hybrid)
Common rue (Ruta graveolens)
*Purple passionvine (Passiflora edulis)
Gold Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina)
Verbena (Verbena x hybrida)
Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)
*Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias currasavica)
*Queen Ann's Lace (Daucus carota)
Lantana (Lantana camara)
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
Butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.)
French Lavender (Lavandula dentata)
Where our plants came from?
We grew some plants in a greenhouse and acquired others from local nurseries including Southern Native Plantings/Longwood Plantation of Newington, Oelschig Nursery of Savannah, and Goodness Grows of Lexington, whom generously donated some of the plants to our project. Special thanks to Karen Smith of Southern Native Plantings who grew our native plants.