A pollinator refers to any creature which is able to move pollen from the male stamen of a flower to the female stigma. They are vitally important to the ecosystem due to their necessity in plant reproduction. Pollination is the key to the flower and fruit production of a plant. As humans, we depend on the work of pollinators for our own food production. We wouldn’t survive without them!
Typically we tend to envision bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds hovering around our garden’s most beautiful flowers. However, birds, bats, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, and even small mammals are also pollinators. Each of these creatures drink the nectar or feed on the pollen found within flowering plants. In doing so they transport pollen grains from one plant to the next. If you’re looking to enjoy your garden from early spring until late fall, pollination is essential. Use this list of flowering plants that attract pollinators to add aesthetics and prosperity to your backyard space!
The first pick on this list is the salvia plant. This is commonly a perennial flower, though they are planted as annuals in colder regions. Salvia is recognized for its long bloom period. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds enjoy this plant from late spring into the fall. There are hundreds of species of salvia plants in all shapes, colors, and sizes. They make great companion plants to a multitude of other flowers that pollinators love! These include verbena, dahlia, zinnia, petunia, goldenrod, daylilies, and daffodils.
The next flowering plant on our list is the annual borage. This low-maintenance space filler grows quite large. These guys are great for attracting beneficial pollinators while warding off common garden pests. Bees and butterflies love the blue flowers produced by the borage plant, and so will you! These nectar-rich flowers bloom from late spring through the summer. The borage leaves, flowers, and oil from its seeds can also be used medicinally.
Our third flower choice for feeding pollinators is the yarrow plant. This is a very hardy perennial that thrives on neglect. The yarrow plant produces clusters of small yellow, pink, white, red, or lavender flowers that hummingbirds and butterflies love. They also attract beetles and even ladybugs. Yarrow blooms from late spring into early fall and is a great low-maintenance addition to any garden.
One of the most exquisite and commonly recognized plants on our list is the sunflower. These are available as perennials, though the exotic-looking kind with large flower heads are annuals. Sunflowers attract many pollinators including bees and butterflies. There are pollen-bearing varieties that you can find specifically for the bees! Sunflowers bloom in the summertime and last into the fall. They add a certain curb appeal to your backyard space and are a favorite among many gardeners.
Another great perennial for enticing the most attractive pollinators is the bee balm. Not only will they attract butterflies and hummingbirds during their blooming season, but birds will find the seed heads throughout the fall and into the winter. The bee balm boasts flowers of red, pink, purple, and white.
Known for its scented, purple blooms, lavender is a great perennial that attracts bees while repelling mosquitoes. Adding potted lavender to your backyard deck is a great way to decorate while enjoying a lovely scent and keeping the biting flies at bay! Lavender blooms in the summertime and lasts until fall when grown annually in less mild climates.
Snapdragons come in every color of the rainbow, boasting flowers that look like jaws. Bumblebees open these jaws to reach the pollen within. These guys are cool-weather bloomers, best planted in early spring. Snapdragons grow well in full sunlight to partial shade. With regular watering, pollinators can enjoy these beautiful, tall flowers right into the fall.
Fuchsia is a great annual flower for attracting hummingbirds. These gorgeous single and double blooms drape down from hanging baskets or window boxes. Fuchsias enjoy partial shade and are a great addition to an area where other flowers may not grow. These elegant flowers bloom all season long with proper care. They are, however, sensitive to cold. Just be sure to wait until temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit before planting!
Calendulas are a great addition to brighten up any garden space. Their daisy-like flowers come in yellow and orange and are great for attracting bees. Calendulas are easy to grow from seed and should be planted in the spring. With full sun exposure, these flowers attract pollinators six to eight weeks from seeding. The leaves and petals of this plant are edible and are often used in teas.
The last pick on our list is butterfly weed. Though the establishment of this flower takes a few years, they are worth the wait as they are excellent for attracting their namesake. Butterfly weed produces clumps of orange to yellow flowers rich with pollen and nectar. They are a type of milkweed that bloom from late spring until late summer. Ensure your garden soil has warmed up before planting!
Attracting pollinators to your garden is essential for plant productivity and garden longevity. Though you may not be interested in attracting swarms of flies to your backyard space, there are many flowering plants that will captivate nature’s most beautiful pollinators. Any nectar-rich flowering plant will do, though this list guarantees a high pollinator turn-out. Diversify your garden, and create your very own bee, butterfly, and hummingbird haven!