Planting For And Identifying Pollinators

by Amanda

One of the most enjoyable aspects of planting a pollinator garden is being able to identify the different butterflies, bees and hummingbirds parading around in spring and summer. To help plan your pollinator garden, we've highlighted a few of our favorite wildflowers, perennials, and flower bulbs that attract pollinators. Plus, you can use these images to identify some of the more common bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds visiting your garden.

1. Identifying Butterflies & Best Flower Varieties For Attracting Butterflies

2. Identifying Bees & Best Flower Varieties For Attracting Bees

3. Identifying Hummingbirds & Best Flower Varieties For Attracting Hummingbirds

Identifying Butterflies

1. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. There are approximately 40 different Swallowtail species in North America and these colorful butterflies are named after the forked appearance of their hind wings.

2. Common Buckeye. This gorgeous butterfly is common throughout the United States, except the Northwest. It prefers open areas with low vegetation.

3. Black Swallowtail. There are approximately 40 different Swallowtail species in North America and these colorful butterflies are named after the forked appearance of their hind wings.

4. Monarch Butterfly. Perhaps one of the most easily identifiable butterflies, the Monarch loves milkweed and is known for its autumn migration from the United States to Mexico.5. 

5. Gulf Fritillary. This lovely orange butterfly can be seen in gardens in warmer areas, but can venture up North occasionally.

6. American Painted Lady. Also known as American Lady, this colorful butterfly can be found throughout North America.

The Best Flower Varieties For Attracting Butterflies To Your Garden

Wildflowers To Attract Butterflies

Perennial Plants To Attract Butterflies

  1. Lavender Munstead, Lavandula angustifolia Close Up

    ‚Munstead‚ Lavender is an English Lavender that has fragrant, cool lavender-blue spikes and gray-green, mounded foliage. You can tuck this lavender into your herb garden...

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    Munstead English Lavender English Lavender Munstead Lavandula angustifolia Munstead
    As low as $6.65
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Munstead' Lavender is an English Lavender that has fragrant, cool lavender-blue spikes and gray-green, mounded foliage. You can tuck this lavender into your herb garden, but we love it planted with other colorful perennials in borders, planted in a massive swath where it can sway in the breeze, or set in a pot on the patio where you can enjoy its pleasant scent. Excellent in fresh or dried bouquets. (Lavandula angustifolia)
  2. Meadow Sage Blue Hill, Salvia nemorosa Blue Hill

    ‚Blue Hill‚ Meadow Sage boasts striking, lilac-blue blooms and wonderfully fragrant foliage. A compact sage that works beautifully in border plantings and containers, &sb...

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    Blue Hill Meadow Sage Meadow Sage Blue Hill Salvia nemorosa Blue Hill
    $7.32
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Blue Hill' Meadow Sage boasts striking, lilac-blue blooms and wonderfully fragrant foliage. A compact sage that works beautifully in border plantings and containers, 'Blue Hill' is both deer and rabbit resistant and tolerates dry, hot weather like a pro. Best in full sun. (Salvia nemorosa)
  3. Royal Catchfly, Silene regia

    A showy prairie native for tough soils, Royal Catchfly brings bright red to the garden or meadow palette. Standing tall with starry scarlet flowers, they are highly attractive to rub...

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    Royal Catchfly Royal Catchfly Silene regia
    $13.32
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    A showy prairie native for tough soils, Royal Catchfly brings bright red to the garden or meadow palette. Standing tall with starry scarlet flowers, they are highly attractive to ruby-throated hummingbirds and black swallowtail butterflies. Tiny white hairs softly coat lanceolate leaves, giving Royal Catchfly a downy appearance and creating contrast for mid-to-late summer flowers. (Silene regia)
  4. May Night Meadow Sage

    May Night is the top signature Salvia, with famous deep blue/purple blooms. A big favorite. Perennial plant of the year in 1997. (Salvia nemorosa)...

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    May Night Salvia Meadow Sage May Night Salvia nemorosa May Night
    As low as $7.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    May Night is the top signature Salvia, with famous deep blue/purple blooms. A big favorite. Perennial plant of the year in 1997. (Salvia nemorosa)

Spring Flower Bulbs To Attract Butterflies

  1. Little Rugged Gladiolus Collection

    With a tough constitution but a delicate feel, our Little Rugged Gladiolus Collection showcases the best of cold-hardy gladiolus. This large collection in a graduated color palette o...

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    Little Rugged Gladiolus Collection Little Rugged Gladiolus Collection Gladiolus
    $52.98
    With a tough constitution but a delicate feel, our Little Rugged Gladiolus Collection showcases the best of cold-hardy gladiolus. This large collection in a graduated color palette of white, pastel pink, and deep rose works beautifully planted throughout the garden to create repeated color accents or planted together for a beautiful group display. A pollinator’s paradise that’s thankfully not attractive to deer or rabbits. Collection of 75 bulbs.
  2. Cafe Au Lait Dinner Plate Dahlia

    ‚Cafe Au Lait‚ Dinner Plate Dahlia produces large, buttermilk-colored blooms up to 10 across that blush with pink and hints of barely-there latte brown. As the season pro...

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    Cafe Au Lait Dinner Plate Dahlia Café Au Lait Dinner Plate Dahlia Dinner Plate Dahlia Café Au Lait
    As low as $17.32
    Per Bag of 3
    'Cafe Au Lait' Dinner Plate Dahlia produces large, buttermilk-colored blooms up to 10 across that blush with pink and hints of barely-there latte brown. As the season progresses and the flowers mature, expect more delicious color variations to appear. Excellent as a cut flower, 'Cafe Au Lait' is hugely popular in wedding bouquets and arrangements. Prefers full sun. (Dahlia)
  3. Richard Wallace Canna Lily, Canna Richard Wallace, close up of yellow flower

    Richard Wallace Canna Lily is a garden favorite with sunny yellow blooms, often speckled with red-orange flecks in the throat, and tropical lime green foliage. Blooming from mid-summ...

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    Richard Wallace Canna Lily Richard Wallace Canna Lily Canna Richard Wallace
    As low as $15.99
    Per Bag of 3
    Richard Wallace Canna Lily is a garden favorite with sunny yellow blooms, often speckled with red-orange flecks in the throat, and tropical lime green foliage. Blooming from mid-summer through fall, Cannas attract hummingbirds and butterflies to the garden. Pant for a lovely display along the back of a border, along a wall for a dramatic display, and thrilling easy-to-grow containers.
  4. Purple Dinnerplate Dahlia Thomas Edison, Dahlia, Decorative Dinnerplate Dahlia

    ‚Thomas Edison‚ Dinner Plate Dahlia produces large, vibrant-purple blooms up to 8 across. With fully double flowers in a unique, electric shade, this dahlia makes a bold...

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    Thomas Edison Dinner Plate Dahlia Thomas Edison Dinner Plate Dahlia Dinner Plate Dahlia Thomas Edison
    As low as $80.98
    Per Bag of 15
    'Thomas Edison' Dinner Plate Dahlia produces large, vibrant-purple blooms up to 8 across. With fully double flowers in a unique, electric shade, this dahlia makes a bold statement when planted in groups of 5 or more. Excellent as a cut flower and used in many wedding bouquets and arrangements. (Dahlia)

Identifying Bees

  1. Western Honey Bee. There are approximately 40 species of Honey Bees. The Western Honey Bee (or European Honey Bee) is the most common species.
  2. Bumble Bee. The Bumble Bee is found mostly in the Northern Hemisphere and there are over 250 species. The soft hair that makes these bees so easily distinguishable (and fuzzy) is called pile.

The Best Flower Varieties For Attracting Bees To Your Garden

Wildflowers To Attract Bees

Perennial Plants To Attract Bees

  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 $153.98
    Per Tray of 16
    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
  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, d...

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    Butterfly Weed Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa
    As low as $11.32
    Per Bag of 3
    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)
  3. Jacob Cline Bee Balm, Monarda didyma Jacob Cline 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-shape...

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    Jacob Cline Bee Balm Jacob Cline Bee Balm, Bergamot Monarda didyma Jacob Cline
    As low as $9.32
    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)
  4. Blue Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica

    Virginia Bluebell’s gorgeous flowers start out as lovely, pastel pink buds and open up into vivid, true blue blooms. A perfect addition to part and full-shade woodland gardens,...

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    Virginia Bluebells Virginia Bluebells Mertensia virginica
    As low as $13.32
    Per Bag of 3
    Virginia Bluebell’s gorgeous flowers start out as lovely, pastel pink buds and open up into vivid, true blue blooms. A perfect addition to part and full-shade woodland gardens, plant Virginia Bluebells to see early spring blooms and frequent visits from pollinators. This native plant increases in size each year and will form a beautiful colony over time with almost no care from the gardener. (Mertensia virginica)

Identifying Hummingbirds

1. Broad-Tailed Hummingbird. This small Hummingbird is extremely adaptable and can be found in a range of habitats. The Broad-Tailed Hummingbird migrates to Mexico for the winter.

2. Black-Chinned Hummingbird. This gorgeous butterfly is common throughout the United States, except the Northwest. It prefers open areas with low vegetation.

3. Rufous Hummingbird. This delightfully colorful Hummingbird is a smaller species and is known to nest in Northern areas all the way up in to Alaska, often staying on the West Coast of the country.

4. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. A woodland dweller often found in forests, this Hummingbird is very territorial and makes its way to Mexico for the winter.

The Best Flower Varieties For Attracting Hummingbirds To Your Garden

Wildflowers To Attract Hummingbirds

Perennial Plants To Attract Hummingbirds

  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, d...

    Learn More
    Butterfly Weed Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa
    As low as $11.32
    Per Bag of 3
    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)
  2. Jacob Cline Bee Balm, Monarda didyma Jacob Cline 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-shape...

    Learn More
    Jacob Cline Bee Balm Jacob Cline Bee Balm, Bergamot Monarda didyma Jacob Cline
    As low as $9.32
    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)
  3. Meadow Sage Blue Hill, Salvia nemorosa Blue Hill

    ‚Blue Hill‚ Meadow Sage boasts striking, lilac-blue blooms and wonderfully fragrant foliage. A compact sage that works beautifully in border plantings and containers, &sb...

    Learn More
    Blue Hill Meadow Sage Meadow Sage Blue Hill Salvia nemorosa Blue Hill
    $7.32
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Blue Hill' Meadow Sage boasts striking, lilac-blue blooms and wonderfully fragrant foliage. A compact sage that works beautifully in border plantings and containers, 'Blue Hill' is both deer and rabbit resistant and tolerates dry, hot weather like a pro. Best in full sun. (Salvia nemorosa)
  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 emanat...

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    Soulmate Swamp Milkweed Swamp Milkweed Soulmate Asclepias incarnata Soulmate
    As low as $153.98
    Per Tray of 16
    '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)

Whether you're planting in containers on a balcony or have a lot of land to work with, there are endless options to help our disappearing pollinator population through gardening.

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