Pollinator Gardening

Butterfly gardening helps the critical environmental process of pollination. Keeping butterflies and other pollinators in mind when selecting plants for your beds or patio containers provides a pesticide-free habitat which is declining in urban areas.

Community Science Garden

This garden can be found next to the Cockrell Butterfly Center on the museum grounds alongside the Hermann Park Dr. entrance to the museum. This garden demonstrates an example of a pollinator and wildlife friendly outdoor space. Nectar plants provide food for butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other pollinating animals. Host plants attract species-specific butterflies to lay their eggs and then provide food for the newly hatched caterpillars. Shelter and water sources are also key components for successful pollinator gardens.

9 Natives Showcase Garden

This garden can be found on the museum grounds behind the Cockrell Butterfly Center along San Jacinto St. Sponsored by the Coastal Prairie Conservancy, the 9 Natives program helps to promote the value of native plants to pollinators, and how these native plants are part of the important prairie landscape. There are so many great reasons to incorporate native plants into your yard or garden. They are hardy and can survive local extremes of heat or cold, drought, and wind. Once established, native plants usually require little or no irrigation or fertilization. They are resistant to many pests and diseases so you will not need pesticides or herbicides. Native plants when mixed together can provide year-round color and beauty, and provide food and homes for the birds, bees, and butterflies.

Plant Sales

Pollinator plants propagated by the Cockrell Butterfly Center are available for sale in the Museum Store during store hours. Exotic house plants and wildflower seed mixes are also occasionally available.

Pollinator Resources

We recommend the following resources for more information:


  • Attracting Native Pollinators. Published in 2011 by the Xerces Society, this book “is much more than a resource on how to improve habitat for native pollinators. It is a step-by-step guide for changing our stewardship of the earth; it is a tangible way for people of all ages to make a difference.”
  • The Bees in your Backyard. By Joseph Wilson and Olivia Messinger Carril (2016). A guide to North America’s native bees, with good information on how to provide habitat and food for them.
  • Butterflies of Houston and Southeast Texas. By John and Gloria Tveten. The best guide to butterflies in the Houston area. Extensive information on life stages, habitat, adult nectar preferences, etc.
  • Life Cycles of Butterflies. By Judy Burris and Wayne Richards (2006). Beautiful, clear photographs of all life stages of 23 common garden butterflies.


  • www.inaturalist.org Website of iNaturalist which is a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society. One of the world’s most popular nature apps, iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over a million scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! What’s more, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature.
  • www.pollinator.org. Website of The Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit dedicated to education and action promoting practices to encourage native pollinators, especially bees. Has links to many other resources.
  • www.wildflower.org. Website of the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. Includes an extensive database on native plant species, as well as lots of information on pollinator gardening, local sources of plants, and much, much more!
  • www.npsot.org. Website of the Native Plant Society of Texas – Houston Chapter. Includes a PDF of the “Native Plant Guide” for species of wildflowers, grasses, and ferns native to our area.
  • www.seedsource.com. Website of Native American Seed, a wonderful source of seeds for plants native to the Texas/Oklahoma area.
  • www.monarchwatch.org. Website of the nonprofit Monarch Watch, an organization that monitors the monarch butterfly migration. A good source of information not just on the health of the monarch butterfly population, but on what you can do to help “bring back the monarch.” Recommends plants for butterfly gardens, sells native milkweed plugs; provides tags for tagging fall migrant monarchs.
Monarch Butterflies in Houston

Common Questions We Hear about Monarchs More questions about Monarchs? Email us! Resources about Monarch Butterflies Citizen Science Projects Monarch…


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