Home Activity Creating a Nature Garden
Image of Hawkbit against Stipa Gingantea

There’s a much greater awareness now of how important plants are for the ecology of the planet and keeping us alive. However, it’s perhaps less known just how intricately interwoven plants are to the ecology and vital to the lifecycle of the various insects, butterflies and moths for feeding, 0breeding and hiding. Part and parcel to all of this the native plants to an area. Native plants are a hidden force in our gardens and countryside and often vital to the local ecology.

The first move towards helping native fauna is just by growing something or helping an area to become more natural and native plants are not necessarily boring to look at either! You could consider doing anything from growing something in a pot or two to converting part of a garden (if you are fortunate to have one) like a border or two or even your lawn (see the Natural History Museum’s advice below on how to convert your lawn).


It all depends on how your fancy takes you, but when planning whatever area you want to become the wildlife, if it matters to you (or who owns the land) it will come to look a little unkempt over time. But that’s more to the advantage of the local fauna which will prefer it that way and of course, you won’t need to spend much time looking after the area. One of the main things is leaving areas undisturbed. All the main work goes into setting up the area so it can establish over time. So consider whether you want it all to grow from seed or use ready grown plants.

To get the best out of the wildlife area it’s important not only to choose plants that suit the growing conditions, i.e. is the area sunny, shady or partial shade, whether the soil is free draining or apt to get waterlogged, sandy, alkaline or acidic, near water, etc, as they just won’t grow well or at all. But it’s also useful to select plants that are native to the area.

There is a much greater range of suppliers of natural and native plants nowadays, but if you are in the UK and looking for ready grown plants you might like to consider.


If you are looking to find which native plants are food and nectar sources for which butterflies and moths you might find the following table useful.

Plant NameLatin NameWildlife supported:-
AngelicaAngelica sylvestrisSwallowtail butterfly
Autumn HawkbitLeonlodon autumnalisDark Veined White butterfly
Barren StrawberryPotentilla sterilisYellow Shell moth
BetonyStachys OfficinalisSpeckled Yellow butterfly
Bird’s-foot TrefoilLotus corniculatusCommon Blue butterfly
BistortPersicaria bistortaSmall Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly
Biting StonecropSedum acreFeathered Ranunculus moth
Bladder CampionSilene vulgarisNettle Pug, Campion moth
Blue FleabaneErigeron acerSmall Marbled moth
Blue Water SpeedwellMeronica anagallisaquaticaFalse Heath butterfly
BrooklimeVeronica beccabungaStraw Belle moth
BugleAjuga reptansBumble Bee Nectar Source
Bulbous ButtercupRanunculus MothSmall Ranunculus moth
Carnation SedgeCarex panaceaReed Dagger moth
CatsearHypochaeris radicataFeathered Footman moth
Celery Leaved ButtercupRanunculus scleratusThe Fern moth
CentauryCentaurium erythraeaNight time nectar source
Corn PoppyPapaver rhoeasRich nectar source
Cotton GrassEriopherum angustifoliumLarge Ear moth
Creeping JennyLysimachia nummulariaLesser Yellow Underwing butterfly
DaisyBellis PerennisBordered Straw moth
Dog VioletViola rivinianaFritillary butterflies
Dog’s MercuryMercurialis perennisLarge seeds for small mammals
DropwortFilipendula vulgarisSatyr Pug moth
Dyer’s GreenweedGenista tinctoriaScotch Annulet, Northern Drab moths
Enchanter’s NightshadeCircaea LutetianaSmall Phoenix moth
English StonecropSedum anglicumApollo butterfly
False Fox SedgeCarex otrubaeAntler moth
Field Forget-me-notMyosotis arvensisCrimson Speckled moth
FigwortScrophularia nodosaSpotted Fritillary butterfly
FoxgloveDigitalis purpureaHeath Fritillary butterfly
Fragrant AgrimonyAgrimonia proceraLarge seeds for small mammals
Germander SpeedwellVeronica chamaedrysSpotted Fritillary butterfly
Glaucous SedgeCarex flaccaRosy Minor moth
GoldenrodSolidago virgaureaLime Speck Pug, Bleached Pug moths
Great MulleinVerbascum thapsusMullein Moth, Striped Lychnis moth
Great WoodrushLuzula sylvaticaDouble Line moth
Greater Bird’s Foot TrefoilLotus uliginosusClouded Yellow butterfly
Greater BittercressCardamine amaraGreen-veined White butterfly
Greater StitchwortStellaria holosteaPlain Clay moth
Grey SedgeCarex divulsaSilver Hook moth
Hairy SedgeCarex hirtaLarge Heath butterfly
HawkweedHieracium agg.The Shark moth
Heath BedstrawGalium saxatileRuddy Carpet moth
Heath SpeedwellVeronica officinalisHeath Fritillary butterfly
Heath WoodrushLuzula multifloraSmall Wainscot moth
Hedge WoundwortStachys sylvaticaSmall Rivulet moth
Herb RobertGeranium robertianumBarred Carpet moth
HopsHumulus lupulusComma, Peacock butterflies
Horseshoe VetchHippocrepis comosaCommon Blue butterfly
Italian CatchflySilene otitesViper’s Bugloss moth
Kidney VetchAnthyllis vulnerariaSix-belted Clearwing, Small Blue butterfly
Lady’s MantleAlchemilla filicaulisRed Carpet moth
Lady’s SmockCardamine pratensisOrange Tip butterfly
Lesser BurdockArctium minusGhost Moth, Rosy Rustic moth
Lesser Meadow RueThalictrum minusMarsh Carpet moth
Lesser StitchwortStellaria gramineaLychnis moth
MadderRubia peregrinaMottled Grey moth
Maiden PinkDianthus deltoidesMarbled Coronet moth
Marsh Dog VioletViola palustrisFritillary butterflies
Marsh FoxtailAlopecurus geniculatusThe Grayling butterfly
Marsh MarigoldCaltha palustrisSlender Striped Rufous moth
Marsh ValerianValeriana dioicaLesser Cream Wave moth
Marsh WillowherbEpilobium palustreWillowherb Hawk moth
Marsh WoundwortStachys palustrisSpeckled Yellow moth
Meadow ButtercupRanunculus acrisFlame Brocade moth
Meadow Oat GrassHelictotrichon pratensisSpeckled Wood butterfly
Meadow RueThalictrum flavumMarsh Carpet moth
Meadow SaxifrageSaxifraga granulataYellow Ringed Carpet moth
MonkshoodAconitum napellusGolden Plusia moth
MousearCerastium fontanumMarsh Pug moth
Mousear HawkweedPilosella offinarumScarce Bordered Straw moth
NavelwortUmbilicus rupestrisBumble Bee nectar
Northern BedstrawGalium borealeOblique Striped moth
Nottingham CatchflySilene nutansWhite Spot moth
Opposite Leaved Golden SaxifrageChrysosplenium oppositifoliumNorthern Rustic moth
Oval SedgeCarex ovalisHedge Rustic moth
Oxeye DaisyLeucanthemum vulgareGood nectar source
Pelitory of the WallParietaria judaicaTunbrid.ge Wells Gem moth
Perforate St. John’s WortHypericum perforatumPurple Cloud butterfly
Pink CampionSilene x hampaeanaTawny Shears moth
Pink Water SpeedwellVeronica catenataSpotted Fritillary butterfly
Prickly Headed PoppyPapayer argemoneGood nectar source
Purple Moor GrassMolinia caeruleaChequered Skipper butterfly
Quaking GrassBriza mediaMeadow Brown butterfly
Ragged Robin LSilene flos-cuculiLychnis moth
Red CampionSilene dioicaRivulet moth
Red CloverTrifolium pratenseFive Spot Burnet moth
Reflexed StonecropSedum rupestreYellow Ringed Carpet moth
Remote SedgeCarex remotaRinglet butterfly
Rest HarrowOnonis repensSilver Studded Blue butterfly
Ribwort PlantainPlantago lanceolataGlanville Fritillary butterfly
Rock CinquefbilPolentilla rupestrisStraw Belle moth
Rock RoseHelianthemum nummulariumGreen Hairstreak butterfly
Rough HawkbitLeontodon hispidusWood Tiger moth
Salad BurnetSanguisorba minor ssp minorLesser Marbled Fritillary butterfly
SalsifyTragopogon porrifoliusMarbled Fritillary butterfly
Sand PansyViola tricolor ssp curtisiiSmall Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly
Scurvy GrassCochlearia officinalisCabbage moth
Sea CampionSilene maritimaMarbled Coronet moth
Sea KaleCrambe maritimaSand Dart moth
Sea MilkwortGlaux maritimaSand Daft moth
Sheep’s Bit ScabiousJasione montanaCoast Dart & tortricord moths
Sheep’s FescueFestuca ovinaMountain Ringlet butterfly
Shepherd’s PurseCapsella bursa-pastoriaSilver Y moth
Shining CranesbillGeranium lucidumLarge seeds for small mammals
SilverweedPotentilla arvensinaDark Marbled Carpet moth
SkullcapScutellaria galericulataWater Betony moth
Small ScabiousScabiosa columbariaRich nectar source and seed for birds
Small TimothyPhleum bertoloniiSmall Skipper butterfly
Soft RushJuncus effususSmall Rufous moth
SorrelRumex acetosaSmall Copper butterfly
Spear Leaved OracheAtriplex prostrataDark Spinach moth
Square Stalked St. John’s WortHypericum tetrapterumTriple-barred Pug moth
Starved Wood SedgeCarex depauperataSpecies recovery (almost extinct in wild)
Sticky CatchfiyLychnis viscariaViper’s Bugloss moth
Stinging NettleUrtica dioicaRed Admiral, Painted Lady butterflies
Sulphur CloverTrifolium ochroleuconLatticed Heath moth
Sweet Vernal GrassAnthoxanthum odoratumGatekeeper butterfly
Sweet WoodruffGalium odoratumVarious spp. of Hawk & Dart moths
ThriftArmeria maritimaThrift Clearwing, Black Banded moths
Thyme-Leaved SpeedwellVeronica serpyllifoliaFalse Heath Fritillary butterfly
TormentilPotentilla erectaRosy Marbled moth
ValerianValerian officinalisValerian Pug moth
VervainVerbena officinalisNectar source
Water Forget-me-notMyosotis scorpioidesNectar source
Water MintMentha aquaticaLarge Ranunculus moth
WatercressRorippa nasturtium-aquaticumGreen-veined White butterfly
Weld (Dyer’s Rocket)Reseda luteolaSmall White butterfly
White BryonyBryonia dioicaSeeds and berries for birds
White CampionSilene albaSandy Carpet moth
White CloverTrifolium repensHebrew Character moth
White Dead NettleLamium albumBeautiful Golden Y moth
White StonecropSedum albumScotch Annulet moth
Wild BasilClinopodium vulgareBumble Bee nectar source
Wild Carrot –Daucus carotaYellow Belle moth
Wild Clary –Salvia verbenacaTwin Spot Carpet moth
Wild MarjoramOriganum vulgareBlack Veined & some Tortricord moths
Wild StrawberryFragaria vescaGrizzled Skipper butterfly
Wild ThymeThymus praecoxThyme Pug moth
Wood AvensGeum urbanumRiband Wave moth
Wood CranesbillGeranium sylvaticumScarce Bordered Straw moth
Wood SpeedwellVeronica montanaSpotted Fritillary butterfly
Woody NightshadeSolanum dulcamaraDeath’s Head Hawk moth
YarrowAchillea millefoliumYarrow Pug & several Tortricord moths
Yellow Flag IrisIris pseudacorusBelted Beauty, Water Ermine moths
Yellow Homed PoppyGlaucium flavumNectar source for migrants
Yellow PimpernelLysimachia nemorumThe Green Arches moth
Yellow SedgeCarex demissaRed Sword-Grass moth
Yellow-wortBlackstonia perfoliataNight time nectar source

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