Butterfly gardeners in southern New York State and northern New Jersey can often expect to see butterflies in flight as early as mid-March and as late as the end of October. From USDA climate zones 5b in the north to 7b along the New Jersey coast, native plants in this region provide a wide selection of butterfly nectar sources and caterpillar food plants.

For the 139 species of butterflies found in New Jersey and the approximately 120 species found within a 50 mile radius of Manhattan, planting a butterfly garden in this region is one way to help restore some of the habitat that has been lost to development and provide resources for wild butterflies to thrive and grow.

Find Butterfly Garden Plants for Northern New Jersey/New York City

The following plants have been selected and rated by NABA members as important native plants for butterfly gardening in the region:

Shrubs, Trees, and Vines
Annual and Perennial Flowers

Learn More About Butterflies in this Region

North American Butterfly Association’s chapter, NABA North Jersey Butterfly Club, has around 135 members who share their knowledge, interest, and enthusiasm of the area’s butterflies. Consider joining them for one of their meetings or field trips.

Certify Your Love of Butterfly Gardening Butterfly Garden Certification Sign

Plant three nectar plants and three caterpillar food plants that are native to your region. Your garden will then qualify to join the growing number of NABA Certified Butterfly Gardens, helping to promote and increase butterfly habitat across the country.


NABA greatly appreciates the volunteer contributions of the local experts who generously gave their advice on this garden guide. They have included Deedee Burnside, Pat Sutton, and Sharon Wander, among others.