Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.
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.
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.
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.
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
- How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden With Fruit
A few simple materials and some overripe fruit are all you need to start attracting more butterflies to your garden!
© 2021 Rachel Darlington