Pollinator Plants And The Pollinators That Love Them

By Nikki Tilley | November 6, 2021
Image by JillLang
by Nikki Tilley
November 6, 2021

Having a backyard wildlife garden, I naturally enjoy the many pollinators that visit too. In fact, there’s nothing more satisfying, or entertaining, than watching pollinators in the garden and the plants they love.

Pollinator Plants and the Pollinators That Love Them

There are far too many pollinator plants in my garden to name them all, but if I had to choose any favorites, it would have to be the colorful zinnia flowers, which the butterflies in particular love about as much as I do. Honeybees absolutely love the spikes of purple liatris (blazing star) and the dainty blooms from herbs like thyme and basil. They also like the clover that I purposely grow for them (and the rabbits) in my small wildlife area.

The bumblebees seem to favor grape hyacinth blooms in early spring and then my buttonbush plant throughout summer and into autumn. I think nearly every pollinator enjoys the sedum once it peaks it in late summer to early fall, including various wasps and daubers. My hummers go wild for fuchsia, million bells, glads and mandevilla. In addition to zinnia, the butterflies frequently visit the coneflowers, butterfly weed and butterfly bush.

I love watching all these different pollinators as they tirelessly visit each blooming plant they come across. Some stay longer than others, claiming a flower as their own and clinging to it for what seems like an eternity, taking in as much sweet nectar or pollen as possible before moving on to the next. Others seem to enjoy the company of fellow pollinating friends, sharing the same bloom like a fun summer celebration. Still, there are pollinators that can get a bit possessive too – like the various visitors of my rhododendrons. The bumblebees don’t always appreciate the honeybees getting in on the action, but they really get upset when one of the hummingbird moths lands on and claims “their” territory. It’s amusing to watch.

My garden is all inclusive, meaning every critter is welcome to visit. Bats are no different. While I have a few bats that come around steadily feasting on the numerous mosquitoes and other pesky insects, I’m working on getting them a bat house so they’ll stick around longer and maybe invite a few more friends. This means I’ll need to plant more night bloomers so they can also have something to pollinate.

If you haven’t already planted a pollinator garden, you should. Even if it’s nothing more than a few potted plants they enjoy. Pollinators are not just important to our plants; they are vital to our food supply. And as a bonus, they bring so much joy just by watching them do what they do!

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