We describe a rearing protocol that allowed us to raise the threatened butterfly, Argynnis diana (Nymphalidae), while bypassing the first instar overwintering diapause. We compared the survival of offspring reared under this protocol from field-collected A. diana females from North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. Larvae were reared in the lab on three phylogenetically distinct species of Southern Appalachian violets (Viola sororia, V. pubescens, and V. pedata). We assessed larval survival in A. diana to the last instar, pupation, and adulthood. Males reared in captivity emerged significantly earlier than females. An ANOVA revealed no evidence of host plant preference by A. diana toward three native violet species. We suggest that restoration of A. diana habitat which promotes a wide array of larval and adult host plants, is urgently needed to conserve this imperiled species into the future.