Attracting pollinators to the garden

attracting pollinators, perennial sunflower 'Lemon Queen'

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m all about attracting pollinators to my garden. No matter what it takes, I want those guys here!

All joking aside, we all need to do what we can for pollinators. Between “colony collapse disorder” affecting honeybees, the decline of habitat for pollinators and the use of pesticides,¬†we are making it difficult for them to do what they do best: pollinate our flowers and facilitate our food production of vegetables and fruits. Simply put, no pollinators = no food. Yikes!

As I was walking through my garden a little while ago, I noticed there are a couple of plants that are absolute hubs of activity when it comes to pollinators. One is a Campanula cultivar (‘Pritchard’s Variety’) and the other is Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ (see photo at top), commonly known as perennial sunflower. Take a look at this short video showing the activity around the Campanula:

Isn’t that amazing?! There are several different types of pollinators on and around the flowers, which I think is awesome.

attracting pollinators, Campanula 'Pritchard's Variety'

(If you want to see a close-up of that Campanula, click on the photo to the left! It’s fabulous and came from Northland Rosarium, in case you’re wondering.)

That got me to wondering about the different types of plants I grow that really draw in the pollinators. Perhaps I planted some of them for that very purpose, but many of them came home with me from the nursery because they have that “wow” factor due to their flowers or some other interesting attribute.

So, after wandering through my garden once again — this time with a pad of paper! — I’ve made a list for you of the annuals, perennials and shrubs that are particularly great at attracting pollinators. I’m sure I’ve missed something along the way but this gives you something to start with:

Annuals:
Calendula
Cosmos
Helianthus annuus (Sunflower)
Zinnia

Perennials:
Achillea (Yarrow)
Agastache (Hummingbird Mint)
Campanula (Clustered Bellflower)
Campanula ‘Pritchard’s Variety’
Echinacea (Coneflower)
Hemerocallis (Daylily)
Helianthus (Perennial Sunflower)
Helenium (Sneezeweed)
Knautia (Crimson Scabious)
Lavandula (Lavender ‘Munstead’, ‘Grosso’)
Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)
Lysimachia clethroides (Gooseneck Loosestrife)
Monarda (Bee Balm)
Penstemon
Phlox
Rudbeckia fulgida (Black-eyed Susan)
Rudbeckia hirta (Gloriosa Daisy)
Salvia (‘May Night’)
Sedums (‘Autumn Joy’, ‘Matrona’, ‘Angelina’)
Veronica

Shrubs:
Amelanchier (Serviceberry)*
Cornus sericea (Red-twig Dogwood)*
Holodiscus discolor (Oceanspray)*
Philadelphus (Mock Orange)*
Physocarpus opulifolius (Ninebark)*
Ribes (Golden and Black Currants)*
Symphirocarpos alba (Snowberry)*
Viburnum trilobum (American Cranberry Bush)*

*= native plants

I would love to hear what you’re growing in your garden, especially the plants that are pollinator magnets! Just drop me a note at Susan@susansinthegarden.com.