Green Spaces

Plants for Pollinators

Plants for PollinatorsYou may have heard a lot of talk about pollinators lately. So, why the renewed interest in bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds?

Ginny Rosenkranz of the University of Maryland Extension said at a UMB Go Green-sponsored sustainability workshop on April 4, “They’re important for plants and flowers. Their quality of life benefits our quality of life.”

According to the Pollinator Partnership, “Worldwide, roughly 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend. Foods and beverages produced with the help of pollinators include apples, blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, vanilla, and almonds.”

In the United States, pollination by honey bees, native bees, and other insects produces $40 billion worth of products annually (Pollinator Partnership).

To attract pollinators and help them to thrive, there are a many plants you can cultivate in your garden.

For those interested in planting a garden to attract local pollinators, Rosenkranz recommends:

  • Planting in groups of three.
  • Protecting the garden from wind, especially in the city.
  • Having food sources, such as dill, parsley, and fennel, for catepillars so they can turn into butterfly/moth pollinators.
  • Maintaining a water source such as a birdbath.

Some plants good for pollination include moss pinks, butterfly weed, black-eyed Susans, and perennial sunflowers. For a full list of pollinator plants and their needs, see below.

“Whether you have a shade or sun garden, you still can have pollinators and beautiful flowers,” Rosenkranz says.

SCIENTIFIC NAME

COMMON NAME

SUNLIGHT

SOILNOTES

Phlox subulata

Moss Pinks

Full sun

Good drainage  

Ajuga reptans

Bugleweed Shade    

Arabis caucasica

Rock Wall Cress

Full sun

Drainage  

Aurinia saxatilis

Basket of Gold

Full sun

Good air circulation

 

Bergenia corifolia

Heart Leaf Bergengia

Shade  

If you rub the leaves together, makes a pig noise

Armeria maritima

Sea Pink

Full sun

Extra drainage

Perennial

Aquilegia canadensis

Columbine

Moderate shade

Moist drained soils

 

Dicentra eximia

Fringed Bleeding Hearts

Moderate shade

   

Iberis sempervirens

Candytuft

Full sun

Well-drained soil

Very fragrant

Phlox divaricata

Woodland Phlox

   

Thrives in woodland area with deciduous trees

Penstemon digitalis

Beard tongue

   

Landing pad for bees; color on pad like a runway for pollinators

Centranthus ruber

Red Valerian

Sun

Well-drained soil

Likes lime

Paeonia lactiflora

Peony

Full sun with afternoon shade

 

Likes to live in the North; has sugar so attract ants, which provide good pest control; petals best for pollinators

Baptisia australis

False Indigo

Full sun

Well-drained soil

 

Centaurea montana

Bachelor’s Button

   

Only lasts two weeks

Salvia nemorosa

May Night

Full sun

Well-drained soil

Best planted at the edge of your garden

Coreopsis lanceolata

Tickseed Coreopsis

Full sun

Really dry soil

 

Dianthus plumaris

Cottage Pinks

Full sun

Well-drained soil

Scent of cloves

Veronicastrum virginicum

Culvers Root

Shade

Moist soil

Takes over garden

Campanula persicifolia

Peach Leaf

Full sun

Moist soil

Tiny bell petals easy for pollinators

Labium maculatum

Spottled Dead Nettle

   

Hreat in containers

Cerastium tomentosum

Snow in Summer

   

Goliage gray and fuzzy

Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Weed

Full sun

Really drained soil

Milkweed family

Coreopsis verticillata

Thread Leaf Coreopsis

     

Echinacea purpurea

Purple Cone Flower

     

Heliopsis helianthoides

Oxeye Daisy

     

Achillea filipendulina

Fernleaf Yellow

Full sun

Well-drained soil

 

Agastache foeniculum

Anise Hyssop

     

Physostegia virginiana

Obedient Plant

   

Great for pollinators, but spreads

Hemerocallis

Daylily

   

Deer love

Rudbeckia fulgida

Black-Eyed Susan

   

Look for Indian summer

Asclepias incarnate

Swamp Milkweed

     

Astilbe chinensis

Astilbe Shade

Moist soil

 

Monarda didyma

Bee Balm

     

Monarda fistulosa

Wild Bergamot

 

Moist soil

Susceptible to powdery mildew

Chrysanthemum superbum

Shasta Daisy

Full sun

 

Repot every three to five years or add new compost to soil

Caryopteria clandonensis

Blue Mist Shrub

 

Consistent moisture

 

Echinops sphaerocephalus

Globe Thistle

     

Eupatorium dubium

Joe Pye Weed

Full sun

Moist soil

 

Hibiscus moscheutos

Hibiscus

   

There are two types, one of which is native to Maryland

Lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal Flower

     

Aster novae angliae

New England Aster

Full sun

 

Goes to seed; can take over garden

Phlox paniculata

Summer Phlox

     

Aster novi belgii

Michaelmas Daisy

Full sun

Even moisture

Drought resistant

Vernonia noveboracensis

Iron Weed

     

Chelone glabra

Turtle Head

     

Helianthus salicifolius

Perennial Sunflower

Full sun

Dry soil

 

Solidago rugosa

Fireworks

Full sun

   

Solidago rugosa

Golden Fleece

Full fun

 

Also known as goldenrod

Eupatorium coelestinum

Hardy Blue Ageratum

Shade

Moist soil

Can become a pest

Heuchera

Coral Bells

Shade

Slight moisture

Blooms in spring and fall


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