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Best Late-Blooming Flowers for Bees and Butterflies

Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.

Late-blooming flowers like this Ligularia 'Britt-Marie Crawford' will help draw bees and butterflies to your garden long after most other blooms have faded.

Late-blooming flowers like this Ligularia 'Britt-Marie Crawford' will help draw bees and butterflies to your garden long after most other blooms have faded.

3 Pollinator-Friendly Plants for Summer and Fall

We all want to attract pollinators into our gardens, but there are hundreds of different types of bees, bumblebees and butterflies, and they like different flowers. How do you please them all?

The most important thing you need to do as a gardener is to plant flowers in lots of different shapes and colors that bloom at different times of year—that way, there's a continuous supply of nectar and pollen for insects.

Below are my three favorite pollinator-friendly plants that bloom late in the season.

A bee and a butterfly share nectar from the same telekia bloom.

A bee and a butterfly share nectar from the same telekia bloom.

1. Ox-Eye Daisy (Telekia speciosa)

In late summer, plants in the Asteraceae (or daisy) family are important sources for both bees and butterflies. Telekia flowers are single, open flowers where you can see the central parts, and such flowers are ideal for insects.

Grow telekia in part shade in moist soil that isn't too fertile. This plant is hardy to below -4˚F (-20˚C). It may need a little staking when in bloom.

Single-flowered dahlias like this Dahlia 'Pooh' are great for pollinators.

Single-flowered dahlias like this Dahlia 'Pooh' are great for pollinators.

2. Dahlia

Another late flower that's adored by bees and butterflies is the dahlia. However—and this is important—you need to choose single-flower dahlias. Most double flowers are of little use to pollinators as they have so many petals the insects can't find their way to the central part of the flower, where the nectar and pollen are found.

Grow dahlias in full sun in rich, well-drained soil. The single-flowered varieties are less likely to need staking than the double. Continue deadheading to encourage flowering right up until the first frosts.

If you look closely, you'll see many bees enjoying the blooms on this Ligularia 'Britt-Marie Crawford'.

If you look closely, you'll see many bees enjoying the blooms on this Ligularia 'Britt-Marie Crawford'.

3. Ligularia

Ligularia has open, daisy-like flowers and yellow coloring. In late summer, this beautiful plant comes alive with feeding insects.

Grow ligularia in sun or part shade in fertile, reliably moist soil. Flowers that bloom in full sun like ligularia are important for butterflies as they need to feed in full sun. Ligularia 'Britt-Marie Crawford', the variety shown above, is hardy to -4˚F (-20˚C). Here are some more tips for growing ligularia.

Can Bees and Butterflies See Color?

Bees are attracted to certain colors, specifically deeper shades such as purple (their favorite), violet and blue. But color is not the only consideration for them. Butterflies, on the other hand, prefer white, pink, purple, red, yellow and orange blooms. Blue and green are their least favorite flower colors.

More Ways to Attract Pollinators

© 2021 Rachel Darlington

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