Choose plants that flower at different times of the year to provide nectar and pollen sources throughout the growing season and have a variety of shapes and colors to attract different pollinators. Mix some annuals with perennials.
ANNUALS: Most annuals produce flowers that will attract pollinators. Plant for sequential blooming all season. Skip double-flowered hybrids: they don’t produce enough pollen. Mass several of each variety. A big clump is like a sit-down buffet for pollinators. Butterflies and moths prefer landing on flat flowers while bees and birds like to investigate tubular flowers. Provide dishes or puddles of water for hydration. Butterflies like muddy water where they get needed salts and nutrients. Plant a variety of shapes and colors to attract more pollinators Some of these are perennials that are sold as annuals.
PLANTS THAT ATTRACT BUTTERFLY CATERPILLARS (host plants): See www.nwf.org for more Sassafras, Spicebush: Spicebush swallowtail Water Hemlock, parsley, dill, carrot, fennel: Black swallowtail Milkweed: Monarch butterfly Willow, poplar, aspen,cherry, plum: Viceroy butterfly Elm, poplar, willow: Mourning cloak butterfly Clover, legumes, alfalfa, vetch: Sulfur butterfly Blueberry, viburnum,dogwoods: Spring Azure butterfly
COLOR PREFERENCES: Plant yellow, blue, and purple flowers for bees and flower flies. Bees cannot see red, but are attracted to some flowers that reflect ultraviolet light. Butterflies favor orange, yellow, pink, and blue flowers with sweet scents. They need to land before feeding and prefer flat-topped clusters or platform-shaped flowers in sunny locations. To attract hummingbirds to your garden, provide tubular flowers with lots of nectar in red, orange, purple and fuschia colors. Species to consider include nasturtiums, fireweed, fuchsia, honeysuckle, bee balm, and sage. Many fly species are also important pollinators and prefer green, white, and cream colors. They have short tongues so require simple flowers. Plant night blooming flowers for moths. Bats don’t pollinate plants in the eastern U.S.
PERENNIALS: Try to plant native plants whenever possible. Native plants are 4 times more likely to attract bees. They are easier to grow because they are more drought tolerant, need less attention, less pesticides and fertilizers and we are helping to save the species. Plants marked with an * are native plants. *Blue phlox *Clover, henbit,* dandelions: (please *Obedient Plant don’t call them a weed!) Trumpet Vine Poppies *Cranesbill (geranium) Mahonia (winter grape) *Asters *Blackberries *Carolina Jessamine *Mountain Mint *Milkweed ( butterfly weed) *Goldenrod Salvia (Sage) *Joe-Pye Weed *Coreopsis *Wild Indigo (Baptisia) *Spiderwort * Sneezewood *Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) * Ironweed (Veronica) *Stoke’s Aster *Black-eyed Susan(Rudbeckia) *Blanketflower (Gaillardia) *Passionflower Catmint * Anise hyssop ( a bee magnet) *Bee Balm (Monarda) *Stonecrop (Sedum) *Beardtongue (Penstemon) Dogbane (Amsonia) *Green and Gold Mallow( includes Hibiscus ) *Yarrow Hollyhocks *Lupines *Sundrops *Liatris (Blazing Star) Queen Anne’s Lace (biennial)
Shrubs: those with * are native *Oak-leaf Hydrangea (don’t plant mop-heads) * Sparkleberry *Hollies (American Holly is native)-Ilex *Spicebush *Summersweet (pepper bush) *Honeysuckle (Shrubs and vines) *Piedmont Azalea some are not native *Fragrant Sumac Vitex( Chaste tree) Butterfly bush (can be invasive) *Viburnum Camellia *Swamp rose *Blackberry and blueberry *New Jersey Tea *Hearts-a-Bustin *Mountain Rhododendron *Painted Buckeye *Buttonbush
Trees: those with * are native *Little Leaf Linden (basswood) *Persimmon *Witch-alder(Fothergilla) *Tulip Tree *Devil’s Walking Stick (Prickly Ash) *Umbrella Magnolia *Pawpaw * Apple, Cherry, Crabapple, Pear *Mockernut Hickory (fruit bearing, not ornamental) *Eastern Redbud Crepe Myrtle *Fringe Tree *Red Maple *Parsley Haw *Willow (can be invasive) *Green Hawthorn *Sourwood *American Hornbeam (Ironwood) *Oak, Poplar, Birch
Integrated Pest Management Practices are the best way to manage pests. Pesticides should always be used as a last resort. Do not use pesticides when flowers are in bloom. Always read the label: it is the law. When selecting pesticides choose those that are least toxic to pollinators. As an alternative use Bacillus Thuringiensis(Bt), insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, neem oil extract, or spinosad.Please contact your local extension agent and refer to these websites for more information: