Planting For And Identifying Pollinators

by Amanda

One of the most enjoyable aspects of planting a pollinator garden is being able to identify the different butterflies, bees and hummingbirds parading around in spring and summer. To help plan your pollinator garden, we've highlighted a few of our favorite wildflowers, perennials, and flower bulbs that attract pollinators. Plus, you can use these images to identify some of the more common bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds visiting your garden.

1. Identifying Butterflies & Best Flower Varieties For Attracting Butterflies

2. Identifying Bees & Best Flower Varieties For Attracting Bees

3. Identifying Hummingbirds & Best Flower Varieties For Attracting Hummingbirds

Identifying Butterflies

1. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. There are approximately 40 different Swallowtail species in North America and these colorful butterflies are named after the forked appearance of their hind wings.

2. Common Buckeye. This gorgeous butterfly is common throughout the United States, except the Northwest. It prefers open areas with low vegetation.

3. Black Swallowtail. There are approximately 40 different Swallowtail species in North America and these colorful butterflies are named after the forked appearance of their hind wings.

4. Monarch Butterfly. Perhaps one of the most easily identifiable butterflies, the Monarch loves milkweed and is known for its autumn migration from the United States to Mexico.5. 

5. Gulf Fritillary. This lovely orange butterfly can be seen in gardens in warmer areas, but can venture up North occasionally.

6. American Painted Lady. Also known as American Lady, this colorful butterfly can be found throughout North America.

The Best Flower Varieties For Attracting Butterflies To Your Garden

Wildflowers To Attract Butterflies

Perennial Plants To Attract Butterflies

  1. Orange Butterfly Weed With Monarch Butterfly, Asclepias tuberosa

    Butterfly Weed is the iconic, bright orange beauty that's a staple in every butterfly garden. This showy native wildflower is easy to grow, cold hardy, and does well in poor, dry soi...

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    Butterfly Weed Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa
    As low as $14.98 Sale $7.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Butterfly Weed is the iconic, bright orange beauty that's a staple in every butterfly garden. This showy native wildflower is easy to grow, cold hardy, and does well in poor, dry soils. Long-lasting clusters of small, flat-topped flowers are crowned with a yellow, sun-kissed "corona" and bloom from June through August. Butterfly Weed is an important nectar source for Monarch butterflies and its leaves provide essential food for developing Monarch caterpillars - but expect to see a variety of pollinators making use of this plant. (Asclepias tuberosa)
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  2. Catmint Walkers Low, Nepeta faassenii

    'Walker's Low' Catmint is known for its easy going nature - it can thrive in a variety of soil and sunlight scenarios, though it does prefer things on the sunny, dry side. Beautiful ...

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    Walker's Low Nepeta Walker's Low Catmint Nepeta faassenii Walker's Low
    As low as $9.98 Sale $4.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Walker's Low' Catmint is known for its easy going nature - it can thrive in a variety of soil and sunlight scenarios, though it does prefer things on the sunny, dry side. Beautiful purple flower spikes appear in early summer and continue to bloom and release their sweet fragrance for up to 3 months. Very showy and very low maintenance, 'Walker's Low' is a great choice for planting in swaths, lining walkways, or adding to pollinator gardens. Deer resistant. (Nepeta faassenii)
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  3. Monarch Magnet Garden Hero Image

    If you plant a Monarch Magnet Perennial Garden, they will come! This brilliant arrangement includes vital Butterfly Weeds that are the growing Monarch’s only food source, as well a...

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    Monarch Magnet Pre-Planned Garden Monarch Magnet Pre-Planned Garden
    $218.98 Sale $109.49
    Per Garden of 18 Plants
    If you plant a Monarch Magnet Perennial Garden, they will come! This brilliant arrangement includes vital Butterfly Weeds that are the growing Monarch’s only food source, as well as six essential nectar plants favored by the adult butterflies. Attract monarchs and bring a vibrant dose of color and beauty to your yard.
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  4. White Shasta Daisy Becky, Leucanthemum superbum

    Becky gives you classic white daisies with wider petals and brilliant centers. Perennial plant of the year in 2003. (Leucanthemum superbum)...

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    Becky Shasta Daisy Becky Shasta Daisy Leucanthemum superbum Becky
    As low as $9.98 Sale $4.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Becky gives you classic white daisies with wider petals and brilliant centers. Perennial plant of the year in 2003. (Leucanthemum superbum)
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Spring Flower Bulbs To Attract Butterflies

  1. Orange Tiger Lily Bulbs Orange, Lilium, Tiger Lily

    With fiery orange petals dotted with burgundy-black, the Orange Tiger Lily has been a garden staple throughout the country for many years. It's extremely easy to grow, adding drama a...

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    Orange Tiger Lily Bulbs Orange Tiger Lily Lilium lancifolium Orange
    $16.98 Sale $8.49
    Per Bag of 3
    With fiery orange petals dotted with burgundy-black, the Orange Tiger Lily has been a garden staple throughout the country for many years. It's extremely easy to grow, adding drama and fragrance to beds and bouquets with its vibrant, 3" blooms. A great choice for moist and poor soils. (Lilium)
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  2. Pink Waltzing Mathilda Single Dahlia, Single Dahlia Waltzing Mathilda

    ‘Waltzing Mathilda’ Single Dahlia fills the summer garden with pinwheels of spunky peach and cherry colored blossoms. The 4-inch flowers can vary in their color intensity, and co...

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    Waltzing Mathilda Single Dahlia Waltzing Mathilda Single Dahlia Single Dahlia Waltzing Mathilda
    As low as $35.98 Sale $17.99
    Per Bag of 3
    ‘Waltzing Mathilda’ Single Dahlia fills the summer garden with pinwheels of spunky peach and cherry colored blossoms. The 4-inch flowers can vary in their color intensity, and contrast against dark green to purple stems and leaves. Winner of the prestigious RHS Garden of Merit award, this summer-blooming favorite will add a dramatic element to the summer and fall garden. Visible centers help to attract butterflies and bees.
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  3. Red Crocosmia Lucifer, Montbretia close up flowers

    'Lucifer' Crocosmia is a famous hummingbird favorite with crescent-shaped sprays of fire-engine-red blooms and attractive, sword-shaped foliage. Incredibly unique, this eye-catching ...

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    Lucifer Crocosmia Lucifer Montbretia, Sword Lily Crocosmia crocosmiiflora Lucifer
    $15.98 Sale $7.99
    Per Bag of 10
    'Lucifer' Crocosmia is a famous hummingbird favorite with crescent-shaped sprays of fire-engine-red blooms and attractive, sword-shaped foliage. Incredibly unique, this eye-catching plant stays lush and healthy throughout the season. (Crocosmia crocosmiiflora)
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  4. Wyoming Canna Lily, Canna indica Wyoming

    Wyoming Canna Lily sparkles with brilliant orange blooms atop richly colored burgundy and green foliage. From mid-summer through frost, hummingbirds cannot resist these bright blooms...

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    Wyoming Canna Lily Wyoming Canna Lily Canna indica Wyoming
    As low as $23.98 Sale $11.99
    Per Bag of 3
    Wyoming Canna Lily sparkles with brilliant orange blooms atop richly colored burgundy and green foliage. From mid-summer through frost, hummingbirds cannot resist these bright blooms, while gardeners adore Wyoming as much for its striking foliage as its cheerful flowers. Easy to grow in beds or containers for a taste of the tropics in any garden. (Canna indica)
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Identifying Bees

  1. Western Honey Bee. There are approximately 40 species of Honey Bees. The Western Honey Bee (or European Honey Bee) is the most common species.
  2. Bumble Bee. The Bumble Bee is found mostly in the Northern Hemisphere and there are over 250 species. The soft hair that makes these bees so easily distinguishable (and fuzzy) is called pile.

The Best Flower Varieties For Attracting Bees To Your Garden

Wildflowers To Attract Bees

Perennial Plants To Attract Bees

  1. Phenomenal Lavender, Lavandula x intermedia

    Phenomenal Lavender has it all: exceptionally tolerant of both high heat and harsh winter, this easy-to-grow lavender even shows resistance to the effects of humidity. Highly fragran...

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    Phenomenal® Lavender Lavender Phenomenal® PP#24193 Lavandula x intermedia Phenomenal PP#24193
    As low as $13.98 Sale $6.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Phenomenal Lavender has it all: exceptionally tolerant of both high heat and harsh winter, this easy-to-grow lavender even shows resistance to the effects of humidity. Highly fragrant with concentrated essential oils, Phenomenal's spikes of purple-blue flowers attract butterflies and bees to the garden. Edible, deer-resistant and fast-growing, this silver-leafed lavender has left all other new introductions in the dust! (Lavandula x intermedia) PP#24193
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  2. Spotted Joe Pye Weed with pink flowers and visiting pollinator, Eupatorium maculatum

    The large, fragrant flower clusters of Joe Pye Weed are always abuzz with pollinator activity. Their abundant nectar provides a vital food source from late summer into fall. This low...

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    Joe Pye Weed Spotted Joe Pye Weed Eupatorium maculatum
    As low as $16.98 Sale $8.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    The large, fragrant flower clusters of Joe Pye Weed are always abuzz with pollinator activity. Their abundant nectar provides a vital food source from late summer into fall. This low-maintenance native plant is rabbit- and deer-resistant and thrives in moist soil. Give this tall, majestic perennial plenty of room and it will spread to form impressive stands. (Eupatorium maculatum)
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  3. Showy Goldenrod, Solidago speciosa, photo courtesy of Mt. Cuba Center

    Among the most dramatic of all the Solidago species, Showy Goldenrod sports torch-like wands of brilliant ochre yellow flowers in mid to late summer. Goldenrods long-lasting blooms a...

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    Showy Goldenrod Showy Goldenrod Solidago speciosa
    As low as $17.98 Sale $8.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Among the most dramatic of all the Solidago species, Showy Goldenrod sports torch-like wands of brilliant ochre yellow flowers in mid to late summer. Goldenrods long-lasting blooms an abundance of pollen attracts bees and beneficial insects,making it ideal for pollinator gardens. This rugged, easy-to-grow native plant will naturalize to form a large swath to brighten your late-season landscape. (Solidago)
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  4. Orange Butterfly Weed With Monarch Butterfly, Asclepias tuberosa

    Butterfly Weed is the iconic, bright orange beauty that's a staple in every butterfly garden. This showy native wildflower is easy to grow, cold hardy, and does well in poor, dry soi...

    Learn More
    Butterfly Weed Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa
    As low as $14.98 Sale $7.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Butterfly Weed is the iconic, bright orange beauty that's a staple in every butterfly garden. This showy native wildflower is easy to grow, cold hardy, and does well in poor, dry soils. Long-lasting clusters of small, flat-topped flowers are crowned with a yellow, sun-kissed "corona" and bloom from June through August. Butterfly Weed is an important nectar source for Monarch butterflies and its leaves provide essential food for developing Monarch caterpillars - but expect to see a variety of pollinators making use of this plant. (Asclepias tuberosa)
    Learn More

Identifying Hummingbirds

1. Broad-Tailed Hummingbird. This small Hummingbird is extremely adaptable and can be found in a range of habitats. The Broad-Tailed Hummingbird migrates to Mexico for the winter.

2. Black-Chinned Hummingbird. This gorgeous butterfly is common throughout the United States, except the Northwest. It prefers open areas with low vegetation.

3. Rufous Hummingbird. This delightfully colorful Hummingbird is a smaller species and is known to nest in Northern areas all the way up in to Alaska, often staying on the West Coast of the country.

4. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. A woodland dweller often found in forests, this Hummingbird is very territorial and makes its way to Mexico for the winter.

The Best Flower Varieties For Attracting Hummingbirds To Your Garden

Wildflowers To Attract Hummingbirds

Perennial Plants To Attract Hummingbirds

  1. Bee Balm Jacob Cline, Monarda

    'Jacob Cline' Monarda is a colorfully vibrant, mildew-resistant variety of the cherished Bee Balm plant. Loved by both gardeners and hummingbirds, crimson red crown-shaped blooms app...

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    Jacob Cline Bee Balm Jacob Cline Bee Balm, Bergamot Monarda didyma Jacob Cline
    As low as $13.98 Sale $6.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Jacob Cline' Monarda is a colorfully vibrant, mildew-resistant variety of the cherished Bee Balm plant. Loved by both gardeners and hummingbirds, crimson red crown-shaped blooms appear on tall, herbaceous plants in mid summer. Its fragrant foliage and tolerance of pests, mildew and clay soils make 'Jacob Cline' a true favorite in the perennial bed. Deer resistant. (Monarda)
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  2. Mini Hummingbird Hangout Plant Collection

    The bold nectar-rich blooms in our Mini Hummingbird Hangout Plant Collection will have your garden humming all summer long! Compact container-friendly varieties of Penstemon, Kniph...

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    Mini Hummingbird Hangout Plant Collection Mini Hummingbird Hangout Plant Collection
    $59.98 Sale $29.99
    Per Collection of 5
    The bold nectar-rich blooms in our Mini Hummingbird Hangout Plant Collection will have your garden humming all summer long! Compact container-friendly varieties of Penstemon, Kniphofia, Monarda, Salvia, and Agastache offer a riot of lasting color to keep hummingbirds coming back for more. Consider planting near a window or on your patio, where you can watch winged visitors to your garden. Collection of 5 plants.
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  3. Red Hot Poker Alcazar, Kniphofia

    'Alcazar' Red Hot Poker brings warm, fiery color to the garden with its vibrant flower spikes. Each flame-like bloom is formed with dangling red-orange buds that open from bottom to ...

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    Red Hot Poker Alcazar Alcazar Torch Lily, Poker Plant Kniphofia Alcazar
    $16.98 Sale $8.49
    Per Bag of 3
    'Alcazar' Red Hot Poker brings warm, fiery color to the garden with its vibrant flower spikes. Each flame-like bloom is formed with dangling red-orange buds that open from bottom to top, revealing faded yellow interiors. A favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies, this unusual plant is easy to grow, perfect for beginner gardeners. Requires full sun. (Kniphofia)
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  4. New Vintage Violet™ Yarrow, Achillea New Vintage Violet™

    Throw a dazzling red-violet highlight into your pollinator garden with New Vintage® 'Violet' Yarrow. Compact fern-like foliage softens sturdy upright stems, adding a delicate t...

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    New Vintage™ Violet Yarrow New Vintage™ Violet Yarrow Achillea millefolium New Vintage™ Violet
    $11.98 Sale $5.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Throw a dazzling red-violet highlight into your pollinator garden with New Vintage® 'Violet' Yarrow. Compact fern-like foliage softens sturdy upright stems, adding a delicate texture to blooms that last from late spring to late summer. Remove spent blooms for a second late-season bloom. This native cultivar is deer resistant, and will attract pollinators in hot, dry, and sunny locations. (Achillea)
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Whether you're planting in containers on a balcony or have a lot of land to work with, there are endless options to help our disappearing pollinator population through gardening.

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