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. 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 $9.99
    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 $14.99
    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 with blazing star

    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. Please note the Bag of 3 are bareroots. (Asclepias tuberosa)
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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. Jacob Cline Bee Balm with Hummingbird

    '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 $7.99
    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 $39.99
    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 $11.04
    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 $9.99
    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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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. 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...

    Learn More
    Phenomenal® Lavender Lavender Phenomenal® PP#24193 Lavandula x intermedia Phenomenal PP#24193
    As low as $13.98 Sale $9.99
    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
    Learn More
  2. 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. Please note the Bag of 3 are bareroots. (Asclepias tuberosa)
    Learn More
  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 $139.99
    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. Pink Echinacea Magnus, Echinacea purpurea, Coneflower

    'Magnus' Coneflower has vibrant pink, ray-like flowers that surround deep-orange center cones, attracting plentiful pollinators to the garden throughout the summer. Leaving the spent...

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    Magnus Echinacea Purple Coneflower Magnus Echinacea purpurea Magnus
    As low as $9.98 Sale $6.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Magnus' Coneflower has vibrant pink, ray-like flowers that surround deep-orange center cones, attracting plentiful pollinators to the garden throughout the summer. Leaving the spent stems and flowerheads in place to overwinter will also attract birds. Coneflowers are notably tough native plants and 'Magnus' is no exception, withstanding drought, clay, humidity and harsh winter conditions without complaint. Easy to grow, this plant is a great choice for beginner and experienced gardeners alike. (Echinacea purpurea)
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