Butterfly Garden Plant Prunus serotina Black Cherry

Butterfly Garden Plants

Black Cherry

(Prunus serotina)

General Information
Cultural Requirements
Native Range
Plant Rating
Plant Reviews

General InformationNABA_DividerBar

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail nectaring on Black Cherry

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail nectaring on Black Cherry

Native to the eastern half of the United States, Black Cherry is a common tree in many areas. Fragrant white flowers in the spring followed by small purple fruit that is relished by wildlife are just two reasons to plant this tree.

While not a specimen tree, Black Cherry is suited to a naturalistic area or the perimeter of a suburban yard. With very few pests or diseases, it should be considered by butterfly gardeners if they have adequate space.

Read more about the use of Black Cherry trees for butterfly gardening in a reprint of an article from Butterfly Gardener magazine: Caterpillar Food Plant: Black Cherry

Importance as a butterfly nectar source:
Black Cherry is used as a nectar source during its spring flowering period.

Importance as a caterpillar food source:

Black Cherry trees provide many butterfly species with caterpillar food.

  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar eggs are laid individually on top of Black Cherry leaves. Young caterpillars which resemble bird droppings may also be found on top of leaves.
  • Red-spotted Purple caterpillar eggs are laid individually at the tips of Black Cherry leaves. Caterpillars eat the leaves on either side of the leaf midrib.
  • Coral Hairstreak caterpillar eggs are laid on the trunk of the tree. The caterpillars feed at night on Black Cherry flowers and fruit.


Cultural RequirementsNABA_DividerBar

USDA Hardiness Zone 4 to 9
Bloom Period Spring
Bloom Color White
Plant Height 40 to 80 feet
Plant Spread 30 to 50 feet
Light Exposure Full sun
Soil Moisture Well drained, can withstand slightly dry conditions
Animal/Disease Problems Eastern tent caterpillars can deform trees, deer may browse younger trees.


Native RangeNABA_DividerBar
Prunus serotina







Plant RatingNABA_DividerBar
Plant rating scale ranges from 0 to 3. Plants rating 3 are the most useful for butterfly gardens. For more details on the ratings, see Native Plant Ratings

Garden Rating 1
Nectar Rating 1
Caterpillar Rating 3


Plant Reviews

Magnolia, Montgomery, TX When in bloom, Black Cherry is visited by several butteflies in our area, including Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Henry’s Elfin, Eastern Pine Elfin, Red-banded and Dusky-blue Hairstreaks. It is also visited by bees and the Eight-spotted Forester moth. Its only drawback here is its short bloom period.