Planting For Pollinators: Attracting Hummingbirds, Bees & Butterflies

Butterfly in a pollinator friendly perennial gardenButterfly in a pollinator friendly perennial garden
 
Wondering how to attract more pollinators to your garden? We'll show you which perennial plants are best for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and share tips for designing a pollinator-friendly garden. As your garden grows, see which plants are best at attracting pollinators in your area!

6 Tips For A Pollinator-Friendly Gardens

  1. The more flowers, the better! (Just in case you needed an excuse for more plants...) Whether you add clover to your lawn or you replace the whole space with perennial plants or wildflowers, more flowers means more sources of food and habitat for pollinators! 
  2. Look for neonicotinoid-free plants, and avoid using pesticides or herbicides in your garden (as they're harmful to people, pets, and pollinators!)
  3. Add a shallow water source that gives pollinators a place to land. For example, try filling a shallow tray or a bird bath with water, and adding sand, stones, and/or pebbles.
  4. Include a mix of native plants for native pollinators, and non-native plants for honeybees. 
  5. Plant a range of flowers for long-lasting blooms from early spring all the way through fall. When shopping with American Meadows, you can use the “Bloom Season” filter to find plants that fill in the flower gaps in your garden.
  6. Don't forget habitat! Twigs, trees, shrubs, and ornamental grasses, as well as manmade pollinator houses, are helpful elements for for providing habitat and shelter for pollinators.

Bee Favorite Perennials

Bees visiting Echinacea (Coneflowers). Customer Photo by Prudence Marie Munger.Bees visiting Echinacea (Coneflowers). Customer Photo by Prudence Marie Munger.
Bees visiting Echinacea (Coneflowers). Customer Photo by Prudence Marie Munger.

 

  • Plant single flowers, like Echinacea and Gaillardia, rather than double-headed flowers with loads of petals. Single flowers make it easier for bees to access pollen and nectar.
  • Short tubular flowers, like Foxgloves, Honeysuckle, also make it easy for bees to find nectar.
  • Flat flower clusters, like those of Milkweed, Sedum, and Yarrow, give bees easy access to nectar, and a nice place to land
  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...

    Learn More
    Butterfly Weed Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa
    As low as $11.98 Sale $5.99
    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
  2. 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...

    Learn More
    Natural Nectar Native Pre-Planned Garden Natural Nectar Native Pre-Planned Garden
    $139.98 Sale $69.99
    Per Garden of 11 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 11 plants, with care instructions and a planting map.
    Learn More
  3. Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca

    Common Milkweed is the most-well known of the milkweeds – and an important food source and host plant for Monarch butterflies. This reliably cold-hardy native plant is as beautiful...

    Learn More
    Common Milkweed Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca
    As low as $14.98 Sale $7.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Common Milkweed is the most-well known of the milkweeds – and an important food source and host plant for Monarch butterflies. This reliably cold-hardy native plant is as beautiful as it is tough. Clusters of tightly-closed lavender buds open to reveal sweetly-fragrant pink blossoms, attracting a menagerie of local pollinators to the garden. Long-lasting plants produce spectacular interest at every stage of growth. (Asclepias syriaca)
    Learn More
  4. 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...

    Learn More
    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)
    Learn More

Hummingbird Favorite Perennials

Hummingbird and Lobelia (Cardinal Flower)Hummingbird and Lobelia (Cardinal Flower)
Hummingbird and Lobelia (Cardinal Flower)

 

  • Red flowers are most attractive to hummingbirds, as well as bright orange and pink flowers
  • Planting shrubs and trees will provide habitat and resting spaces for hummingbirds.
  • Long, tubular flowers, like Lobelia, are ideal for hummingbirds - they can reach their long slender beaks into spaces where bees and other pollinators can't reach.
  • Hummingbirds look for reliable nectar sources, so planting flowers in large groupings will help attract hummingbirds and keep them coming with a large, long-lasting nectar source.
  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...

    Learn More
    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)
    Learn More
  2. Pollinator Meadow Native Plant Collection

    Put out the welcome mat for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds with our Pollinator Meadow Native Plant Collection. Start a new pollinator garden or create a dreamy meadow style plan...

    Learn More
    Pollinator Meadow Native Plant Collection Pollinator Meadow Native Plant Collection
    $179.98 Sale $89.99
    Per Collection of 11
    Put out the welcome mat for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds with our Pollinator Meadow Native Plant Collection. Start a new pollinator garden or create a dreamy meadow style planting with this collection of easy-care perennials with nectar-rich blooms in soft, contemporary colors and airy textures. These native, deer-resistant perennials are easy to grow, and they readily naturalize and spread.
    Learn More
  3. Wild Bergamot with fragrant pale purple flowers, Bee Balm, Monarda fistulosa

    The tubular nectar-rich flowers of Wild Bergamot Bee Balm are magnets for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. It blooms from midsummer into fall with fragrant pale purple flowers th...

    Learn More
    Wild Bergamot (Bee Balm) Wild Bergamot, Bee Balm Monarda fistulosa
    As low as $16.98 Sale $8.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    The tubular nectar-rich flowers of Wild Bergamot Bee Balm are magnets for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. It blooms from midsummer into fall with fragrant pale purple flowers that seem to burst from the buds like fireworks. This easy-care native perennial is deer resistant, adaptable to most soil types, and freely spreads to create swaths of color and fragrance. (Monarda fistulosa)
    Learn More
  4. Soulmate Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata

    'Soulmate' Swamp Milkweed is an essential North American native that provides vital food for developing Monarch butterflies. Cherry pink flowers with white centers emanate a sweet va...

    Learn More
    Soulmate Swamp Milkweed Swamp Milkweed Soulmate Asclepias incarnata Soulmate
    As low as $16.98 Sale $8.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Soulmate' Swamp Milkweed is an essential North American native that provides vital food for developing Monarch butterflies. Cherry pink flowers with white centers emanate a sweet vanilla fragrance that calls in countless other pollinators. Beyond its beautiful color and sweet scent, this compact milkweed tolerates moist soils and is a great choice for small-space gardens. Deer resistant. (Asclepias incarnata)
    Learn More

Butterfly Favorite Perennials

A monarch butterfly visiting Milkweed (Asclepias)A monarch butterfly visiting Milkweed (Asclepias)
A monarch butterfly visiting Milkweed (Asclepias)

 

When it comes to designing a butterfly garden, there are two types of plants to feature: host plants and nectar plants. Host plants are necessary to provide food and habitat for caterpillars. Nectar plants will attract and feed the adult butterflies!

  • Host plants include native Ornamental Grasses, Baptisia, and Milkweed. Milkweed is the host plant for the Monarch caterpillar – and the nectar-rich flower clusters attract lots of pollinators, too!
  • Nectar plants for butterflies include Aster, Black Eyed Susan, Echinacea, Goldenrod, Yarrow and many more.
  • Learn More: Soar With Your Butterfly Garden, by Charlie Nardozzi
  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...

    Learn More
    Butterfly Weed Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa
    As low as $11.98 Sale $5.99
    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
  2. Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca

    Common Milkweed is the most-well known of the milkweeds – and an important food source and host plant for Monarch butterflies. This reliably cold-hardy native plant is as beautiful...

    Learn More
    Common Milkweed Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca
    As low as $14.98 Sale $7.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Common Milkweed is the most-well known of the milkweeds – and an important food source and host plant for Monarch butterflies. This reliably cold-hardy native plant is as beautiful as it is tough. Clusters of tightly-closed lavender buds open to reveal sweetly-fragrant pink blossoms, attracting a menagerie of local pollinators to the garden. Long-lasting plants produce spectacular interest at every stage of growth. (Asclepias syriaca)
    Learn More
  3. Pollinator Meadow Native Plant Collection

    Put out the welcome mat for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds with our Pollinator Meadow Native Plant Collection. Start a new pollinator garden or create a dreamy meadow style plan...

    Learn More
    Pollinator Meadow Native Plant Collection Pollinator Meadow Native Plant Collection
    $179.98 Sale $89.99
    Per Collection of 11
    Put out the welcome mat for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds with our Pollinator Meadow Native Plant Collection. Start a new pollinator garden or create a dreamy meadow style planting with this collection of easy-care perennials with nectar-rich blooms in soft, contemporary colors and airy textures. These native, deer-resistant perennials are easy to grow, and they readily naturalize and spread.
    Learn More
  4. 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...

    Learn More
    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)
    Learn More
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