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Want pollinators in your garden? Plant these 21 flowers

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

Flowers play a starring role in our ecosystem and the survival of the planet. Sounds intense? Well, it is.


We rely on pollinators to help produce up to one- third of our food. New research has shown a huge loss in pollinators across the globe. This loss results in less healthy fruits and vegetables and is to blame for 500,000 deaths a year!


Told you it was intense.


The good news is that you can make a difference. No matter how big of a garden you have, we can help our pollinating friends out by planting flowers that they love.


The world will get healthy, gorgeous, delicious fruit and veg, and the bees, butterflies, beetles and other insects will get to keep doing what they do best — pollinate.


Read on for 21 of the best (and easiest to grow) pollinator flowers to plant in your garden to attract all the right insects.



1. Borage (Borago officinalis)

A hairy annual or biennial herb with blue star-shaped flowers, often used for culinary and medicinal purposes.



Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds

Blooms from late spring to early fall

 

2. Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

A perennial pollinator flower with petals that are typically purple, but can also be pink, white, or yellow. It is known for its large, cone-shaped center that gives it its name.



Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from mid-summer to early fall

 

3. Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)

An annual or perennial plant with large, daisy-like flowers in shades of pink, red, and white.



Height: 60-120 cm (24-47 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and beneficial insects

Blooms from mid-summer to fall

 

4. Dill (Anethum graveolens)

A yummy annual herb with fine, feathery leaves and yellow or white flowers, often used in cooking and great with smoked salmon.



Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as beneficial insects and butterflies

Blooms from mid-summer to early fall.

 

5. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

A pollinator-friendly perennial herb with feathery leaves and yellow flowers, often used for culinary and medicinal purposes.



Height: 120-180 cm (47-71 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as beneficial insects, butterflies, and bees

Blooms from late summer to early fall

 

6. Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

A perennial plant with spikes of small, yellow flowers and finely divided leaves, often used in naturalized gardens and wildflower meadows.



Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and beneficial insects

Blooms from late summer to fall

 

7. Lavender (Lavandula spp.)

A perennial shrub with spikes of small, fragrant purple flowers and gray-green leaves, often used for culinary and medicinal purposes. In my garden, we use lavender in our borders and the bees can’t get enough of it!



Height: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from late spring to early summer

 

8. Marigold (Tagetes spp.)

An annual or perennial plant with large, daisy-like flowers in shades of orange and yellow. And an absolute hit in your pollinator flower garden.



Height: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from mid-summer to fall

 

9. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

An annual vine with large, round leaves and bright orange or yellow flowers, often used as an edible ornamental plant. This one is great around kids, too, because it's safe to eat, making it a great addition to any pollinator flower garden or container.



Height: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from late spring to fall

 

10. Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

A perennial herb with small, white or pink flowers and fragrant, flavorful leaves, often used in cooking.



Height: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from late spring to early summer

 

11. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

A biennial herb with flat, divided leaves and small, green or yellow flowers, often used as a garnish or seasoning.



Height: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Sun exposure: Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from late spring to early summer

 

12. Perennial Salvia (Salvia spp.)

A perennial pollinator flowering plant with spikes of small, blue or purple flowers and aromatic foliage.



Height: 30-90 cm (12-36 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds

Blooms from spring to fall

 

13. Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia)

An annual or perennial plant with clusters of small, blue or purple flowers and finely divided leaves, often used as a cover crop or green manure.



Height: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from spring to early summer

 

14. Poppy (Papaver spp.)

An annual or perennial plant with large, cup-shaped flowers in shades of red, orange, pink, and white. Plus, it's a sign that summer is in full swing.



Height: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from late spring to early summer

 

15. Sunflower (Helianthus spp.)

An annual or perennial plant with large, yellow or orange flowers and rough leaves.



Height: 120-300 cm (47-118 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from late summer to fall

 

16. Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

A small annual or perennial plant with clusters of small, white or pink flowers, often used as a ground cover or in rock gardens.



Height: 15-30 cm (6-12 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from spring to fall

 

17. Thyme (Thymus spp.)

A perennial herb with small, pink or white flowers and fragrant, flavorful leaves, often used in cooking.



Height: 15-30 cm (6-12 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from late spring to early summer

 

18. Verbena (Verbena spp.)

A perennial pollinator flowering plant with spikes of small, purple, pink, or white flowers and finely divided leaves, often used as a ground cover or in hanging baskets.



Height: 30-90 cm (12-36 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from spring to fall

 

19. Wildflowers

A broad term that encompasses a diverse range of plants that are typically found growing in natural, uncultivated areas.



Height: varies

Sun exposure: varies

Soil: varies

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms vary depending on the species


Be sure you add bee balm (monarda) in this mix.

 

20. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

A perennial flower with clusters of small, flat-topped flowers in shades of white, pink, and yellow. It is known for its fern-like leaves and is often used in naturalized gardens.



Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches)

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects

Blooms from late spring to fall

 

21. Butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.)

A gorgeous perennial plant that grows white, purple or pink flowers. A huge hit with butterflies in my garden. And it’s super easy to propagate with cuttings planted directly in the ground.



Height: varies

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Attracts: Pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds

Blooms from late spring to fall


It’s a good idea to have a variety of plants in your garden and near your fruit and vegetables to attract a wide range of pollinators.


Depending on your area, you may have to adapt the list that I’ve used above. Talk to your local nursery, farmer, or gardening expert for their take on what works best in your area.


What types of pollinators will these flowers attract?


If you’re looking for a quick list of what pollinators you can expect with each of the plants above, here you go:

  • Borage: bees, butterflies

  • Coneflower: bees, butterflies, beetles

  • Cosmos: bees, butterflies

  • Dill: bees, butterflies, wasps

  • Fennel: bees, butterflies, wasps

  • Goldenrod: bees, butterflies, beetles

  • Lavender: bees, butterflies, moths

  • Marigold: bees, butterflies

  • Nasturtium: bees, butterflies, beetles

  • Oregano: bees, butterflies

  • Parsley: bees, butterflies, wasps

  • Perennial Salvia: bees, butterflies, hummingbirds

  • Phacelia: bees, butterflies, beetles

  • Poppy: bees, butterflies, beetles

  • Sunflower: bees, butterflies, beetles, flies, hummingbirds

  • Sweet Alyssum: bees, butterflies

  • Thyme: bees, butterflies

  • Verbena: bees, butterflies, hummingbirds

  • Wildflowers: various species of pollinators

  • Yarrow: bees, butterflies, beetles

Different pollinators have different preferences for flower shape, color, and size. That’s another reason to plant a variety in your garden… plus it’ll look better.


And the time of blooming is important, try to have flowers in bloom throughout the growing season to accommodate different species of pollinators.


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Welcome to my garden

Hi! I'm Lars (Denmark).

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