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. Purple Echinacea purpurea, Coneflower

    Echinacea purpurea, or purple coneflower, produces long-lasting mauve pink to purple daisy-like flowers. Coneflower is one of the finest native perennials, attracting all types of bu...

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    Purple Coneflower Coneflower Echinacea purpurea
    As low as $10.65 Sale $8.84
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Echinacea purpurea, or purple coneflower, produces long-lasting mauve pink to purple daisy-like flowers. Coneflower is one of the finest native perennials, attracting all types of butterflies, birds and bees to your garden. This easy to grow coneflower is tough, withstanding both drought and cold temperatures. (Echinacea purpurea)
  2. Lesser Catmint, Calamintha nepeta ssp. nepeta with yellow butterfly

    Calamintha creates a serene, inviting space with clouds of tiny white blossoms and dense, finely textured foliage that releases a rejuvenating minty fragrance. Flowering from earl...

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    Calamintha Lesser Catmint Calamintha nepeta ssp. nepeta
    $11.99 Sale $11.39
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Calamintha creates a serene, inviting space with clouds of tiny white blossoms and dense, finely textured foliage that releases a rejuvenating minty fragrance. Flowering from early summer until fall, Calamintha attracts a host of pollinators. Drought tolerant plants spread gently and will drape over the edges of containers and rock walls, softening hard edges as a lovely filler, edging plant, or groundcover. 2021 Perennial Plant of the Year. (Calamintha nepeta)
  3. Anise Hyssop close up of purple flowers with visiting pollinator, Blue Giant Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum

    Anise Hyssop is a native perennial that keeps you in fragrant pollinator heaven from mid-summer to fall. With a sweet licorice-mint fragrance, long lasting pale purple flowers, and a...

    Learn More
    Anise Hyssop Anise Hyssop, Blue Giant Hyssop Agastache foeniculum
    As low as $11.99 Sale $9.95
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Anise Hyssop is a native perennial that keeps you in fragrant pollinator heaven from mid-summer to fall. With a sweet licorice-mint fragrance, long lasting pale purple flowers, and an easy-to-grow nature, this is a pollinator powerhouse favored by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Its leaves make a delicious tea too! Deer and rabbit resistant. (Agastache foeniculum)
  4. Common Sneezeweed, Helenium autumnale, photo courtesy of Mt. Cuba Center

    Standing tall in a meadow or garden bed, Helenium autumnale is a must-have for native plant enthusiasts. Joyfully arching toward the sun, flowers feature scalloped golden petals arou...

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    Helenium autumnale Common Sneezeweed Helenium autumnale
    $15.99 Sale $14.39
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Standing tall in a meadow or garden bed, Helenium autumnale is a must-have for native plant enthusiasts. Joyfully arching toward the sun, flowers feature scalloped golden petals around a button-like center. Tall stems are covered in dark green lanceolate leaves. With abundant late-season blooms, this native wildflower is a rich source of food for both native bees and honey bees preparing for autumn.

Spring Flower Bulbs To Attract Butterflies

  1. Cupcake Dinner Plate Dahlia Collection

    The Cupcake Dinner Plate Dahlia Collection is an exquisite selection of tall, decadently large dinner plate dahlias. Indulge in the massive, fluffy flowers up to one foot wide that b...

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    Cupcake Dinner Plate Dahlia Collection Cupcake Dinner Plate Dahlia Collection Dahlia
    $69.98 Sale $52.49
    Per Collection of 12
    The Cupcake Dinner Plate Dahlia Collection is an exquisite selection of tall, decadently large dinner plate dahlias. Indulge in the massive, fluffy flowers up to one foot wide that bloom in soft spun-sugar and buttercream colors. The soothing pastel palette will give your garden and cut flower arrangements an irresistible sweetness, blooming from summer to frost. Collection of 12 tubers.
  2. Harmonic Dahlia Collection

    Our Harmonic Dahlia Collection is a masterpiece of color and form. Featuring some of our most popular Dinner Plate, Ball, and Water Lily dahlias, the collection allows gardeners to g...

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    Harmonic Dahlia Collection Harmonic Dahlia Collection Dahlia
    $111.98 Sale $83.99
    Per Collection of 18
    Our Harmonic Dahlia Collection is a masterpiece of color and form. Featuring some of our most popular Dinner Plate, Ball, and Water Lily dahlias, the collection allows gardeners to grow several classic dahlia flower forms in a color palette that soothes the soul. With a nod to summer sunrises and dreamy sunsets, these six Dahlia varieties will create a stunning display in the garden, as well as in cut flower arrangements. Collection of 18 tubers.
  3. Bishop of Llandaff Peony Flowering Dahlia, Peony Flowering Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

    Bishop of Llandaff Peony Flowering Dahlia is a striking variety used in gardens all over the world. This dahlia is the winner of an RHS Award of Garden Merit for its excellent habit,...

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    Bishop of Llandaff Peony Flowering Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff Peony Flowering Dahlia Peony Flowering Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff
    As low as $18.65 Sale $13.99
    Per Bag of 3
    Bishop of Llandaff Peony Flowering Dahlia is a striking variety used in gardens all over the world. This dahlia is the winner of an RHS Award of Garden Merit for its excellent habit, refined foliage, and stunning scarlet blooms, with single open-face flowers that are highly appealing to pollinators. Bishop of Llandaff features unusual deep plum-colored foliage for added interest, and doesn’t require the staking that larger dahlias need.
  4. Crazy Love Decorative Dahlia, Decorative Dahlia Crazy Love close up of flower

    The extraordinary 'Crazy Love' Dahlia has full, white blooms with the thinnest violet-pink petal trim and a barely-there hint of lime green at center . This unusual semi dinner plate...

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    Crazy Love Decorative Dahlia Crazy Love Decorative Dahlia Decorative Dahlia Crazy Love
    As low as $18.65 Sale $13.99
    Per Bag of 3
    The extraordinary 'Crazy Love' Dahlia has full, white blooms with the thinnest violet-pink petal trim and a barely-there hint of lime green at center . This unusual semi dinner plate variety lends a refined and understated elegance to the garden, but is bold and showy in the vase. Full sun. (Dhalia)

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. Sensational!™ Lavender, Lavandula x intermedia Sensational!™ harvested in a baskest

    Sensational!™ Lavender is an improved, easy-to-grow variety that makes growing lavender accessible to more gardeners than ever! Silvery foliage is topped by large, dense purple flo...

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    Sensational!™ Lavender Sensational!™ Lavender Lavandula x intermedia Sensational!™
    As low as $9.99 Sale $8.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Sensational!™ Lavender is an improved, easy-to-grow variety that makes growing lavender accessible to more gardeners than ever! Silvery foliage is topped by large, dense purple flower spikes. With a compact, dense habit and notable durability for sun, heat, and humidity, as well as cold tolerance, Sensational stands apart from many traditional Lavender varieties. A favorite of honeybees, these fragrant flowers will attract a wide range of pollinators. (Lavandula x intermedia)
  2. Lesser Catmint, Calamintha nepeta ssp. nepeta with yellow butterfly

    Calamintha creates a serene, inviting space with clouds of tiny white blossoms and dense, finely textured foliage that releases a rejuvenating minty fragrance. Flowering from earl...

    Learn More
    Calamintha Lesser Catmint Calamintha nepeta ssp. nepeta
    $11.99 Sale $11.39
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Calamintha creates a serene, inviting space with clouds of tiny white blossoms and dense, finely textured foliage that releases a rejuvenating minty fragrance. Flowering from early summer until fall, Calamintha attracts a host of pollinators. Drought tolerant plants spread gently and will drape over the edges of containers and rock walls, softening hard edges as a lovely filler, edging plant, or groundcover. 2021 Perennial Plant of the Year. (Calamintha nepeta)
  3. Anise Hyssop close up of purple flowers with visiting pollinator, Blue Giant Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum

    Anise Hyssop is a native perennial that keeps you in fragrant pollinator heaven from mid-summer to fall. With a sweet licorice-mint fragrance, long lasting pale purple flowers, and a...

    Learn More
    Anise Hyssop Anise Hyssop, Blue Giant Hyssop Agastache foeniculum
    As low as $11.99 Sale $9.95
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Anise Hyssop is a native perennial that keeps you in fragrant pollinator heaven from mid-summer to fall. With a sweet licorice-mint fragrance, long lasting pale purple flowers, and an easy-to-grow nature, this is a pollinator powerhouse favored by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Its leaves make a delicious tea too! Deer and rabbit resistant. (Agastache foeniculum)
  4. Purple Echinacea purpurea, Coneflower

    Echinacea purpurea, or purple coneflower, produces long-lasting mauve pink to purple daisy-like flowers. Coneflower is one of the finest native perennials, attracting all types of bu...

    Learn More
    Purple Coneflower Coneflower Echinacea purpurea
    As low as $10.65 Sale $8.84
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Echinacea purpurea, or purple coneflower, produces long-lasting mauve pink to purple daisy-like flowers. Coneflower is one of the finest native perennials, attracting all types of butterflies, birds and bees to your garden. This easy to grow coneflower is tough, withstanding both drought and cold temperatures. (Echinacea purpurea)

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. Natural Nectar Native Pre-Planned Garden

    The Natural Nectar Native Pre-Planned Garden will be buzzing with pollinators as butterflies, hummingbirds and native bees will pay frequent visits to the nectar-filled flowers. Thes...

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    Natural Nectar Native Pre-Planned Garden Natural Nectar Native Pre-Planned Garden
    $116.65 Sale $105.99
    Per Garden of 12 Plants
    The Natural Nectar Native Pre-Planned Garden will be buzzing with pollinators as butterflies, hummingbirds and native bees will pay frequent visits to the nectar-filled flowers. These low-maintenance native plants will burst with blooms from mid spring through fall. Garden of 12 plants, with care instructions and a planting map.
  2. Coral Bells Palace Purple, Heuchera

    The brilliant hue of Palace Purple is a now famous Heuchera, this variety of Coral Bells provides both beautiful foliage and flowers. To 18" tall. Perennial Plant Association Plant ...

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    Palace Purple Coral Bells Palace Purple Coral Bells Heuchera micrantha Palace Purple
    $13.32 Sale $12.65
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    The brilliant hue of Palace Purple is a now famous Heuchera, this variety of Coral Bells provides both beautiful foliage and flowers. To 18" tall. Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year 1991. (Heuchera micrantha)
  3. Anise Hyssop close up of purple flowers with visiting pollinator, Blue Giant Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum

    Anise Hyssop is a native perennial that keeps you in fragrant pollinator heaven from mid-summer to fall. With a sweet licorice-mint fragrance, long lasting pale purple flowers, and a...

    Learn More
    Anise Hyssop Anise Hyssop, Blue Giant Hyssop Agastache foeniculum
    As low as $11.99 Sale $9.95
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Anise Hyssop is a native perennial that keeps you in fragrant pollinator heaven from mid-summer to fall. With a sweet licorice-mint fragrance, long lasting pale purple flowers, and an easy-to-grow nature, this is a pollinator powerhouse favored by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Its leaves make a delicious tea too! Deer and rabbit resistant. (Agastache foeniculum)
  4. Purple Re-Blooming Daylily Purple D'Oro, close up of purple petals

    'Purple D'Oro' Reblooming Daylily is a standout variety bred from its namesake, the ever-popular and bloom-packed 'Stella D'Oro'. With lavender-purple flowers that delight throughout...

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    Purple D'Oro Reblooming Daylily Reblooming Daylily Purple D'Oro Hemerocallis Purple D'Oro
    $15.99 Sale $11.99
    Per Bag of 3
    'Purple D'Oro' Reblooming Daylily is a standout variety bred from its namesake, the ever-popular and bloom-packed 'Stella D'Oro'. With lavender-purple flowers that delight throughout the summer and finish the season strong with a second wave of blooms come fall, 'Purple D'Oro' is an easy care plant that asks little of the gardener. (Hemerocallis)

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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