The top 10 Butterfly Plants for Gladstone Gardens

Green thumbs rejoice as here’s a guide on how to get 33 different butterfly species in your backyard with 10 native plants! We have a huge 150 species of butterflies in the Gladstone region, who rely on native plants to sustain their amazing lifecycle. Unfortunately, some of these plants (known as host plants) have become scarce in and around Gladstone. To preserve these insect species, local community group, Native Plants Queensland are encouraging locals to get butterfly attracting plants in the ground with funding from Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. (FBA).

There are over 300 confirmed native plants in our region that support the lifecycles of native butterflies. However, some plants support more species of butterflies than others. To get the best bang for your buck, the following 10 native plants attract a huge 33 different species of butterflies and have a history of supporting breeding rather than simply feeding.

  1. Climbing Senna – A sun-loving scrub that can also climb trees, this plant produces yellow flowers and are adored by Yellow Migrant butterfly.
  2. Emu Foot – This perennial groundcover grows to 20cm and is a great lawn alternative or cottage garden addition.
  3. Kangaroo Grass – This drought-tolerant perennial grows in dense tufts and flowers in summer. This native is particularly loved by the Evening Brown butterfly.
  4. Karamat – This aquatic herb likes wet feet and thrives in damp shaded spots along the edge of dams, frog ponds or in pots.
  5. Love Flower – Ranging in leaf shape and flower colour, the love flower is beautiful yet stubborn. It thrives in dark, moist areas and likes to choose where it wants to grow.
  6. Native Mulberry – This fast-growing tree is easy to prune and a smorgasbord plant for a huge range of animals.
  7. Pink Limeberry and Cluster Limeberry – Both of these trees are a great nectar source for insects, plus the berries are edible.
  8. Scrub Caper – This small tree produces large, fragrant white blossoms from January to March. This species is a key host plant for the Caper White butterfly.
  9. Zig-zag Vine – Related to the custard apple tree, the Zig-zag vine will scaffold in search of sunlight and produce tasty fruit while attracting Four-barred Swordtail butterfly.
  10. Corky Milk-vine – This climbing vine is characterised by opposite leaves and small cream or yellow flowers that are produced in spring and summer.

To encourage you (Gladstone residents) to get these plants in the ground, Native Plants Australia has created a beautiful educational tri-fold flyer with design help from Earthling Enterprises. The flyer is a free resource for Gladstone locals packed with butterfly host plant information. The flyer will be available in the coming weeks at Gladstone Regional Council Libraries or­­ Tondoon Botanical Garden.

Native Plants Queensland’s educational tri-fold flyer

For groups of residents wanting to go the extra mile, FBA has a comprehensive Restoration Guide for large scale habitat improvement projects. To get your hands on this free resource, email