10 Native Vines to Attract Butterflies

By Colleen Beaty, Conservation Content Writer|May 6, 2014

Native vines are an important but often overlooked component of butterfly habitat. Many vines serve as larval host plants (food sources) for caterpillars. They provide cover for butterflies and caterpillars, and the flowers provide nectar for butterflies (and many other pollinators, including hummingbirds).

Purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is one of many attractive vines that provide butterfly habitat.Photo by Bill Johnson, National Park Service

Purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is one of many attractive vines that provide butterfly habitat.
Photo by Bill Johnson, National Park Service

Most native vines also have attractive foliage and colorful flowers that would provide an aesthetically-pleasing addition to your site’s landscaping.

Spring is generally the best time to install native plantings, so if you’d like to add vines for pollinators, now is the time!

Here are 10 examples of native North American vines you could plant to attract butterflies:

  1. Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia spp.)
  2. Trumpet creeper (Campis radicans)
  3. Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
  4. Passionflower (Passiflora spp.)
  5. Pipevine (Aristolochia macrophylla)
  6. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
  7. Virgin’s bower (Clematis virginiana)
  8. Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
  9. American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens)
  10. Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)

It’s important to remember that these examples are not native to all of North America, so when choosing vines to plant, you should always choose species that are native to your region. Also, some species like coral honeysuckle and American wisteria have non-native, invasive counterparts, so you should be sure that you’re planting the native vine species.

If you would like specific recommendations for your site, please contact a WHC Biologist or your local Cooperative Extension agent.

Readers, do you have any native vines you would add to this list? 

Read more WHC blogs.