It’s summer, and as you’re spending more time in your backyard, you may find yourself thinking about adding plants that attract pollinators to your yard. Perhaps you’re motivated by the environmental benefits, or maybe you just want to enjoy the aesthetic of butterflies and birds floating through your garden on a sunny day.
Either way, if you’re new to butterfly gardening, you may be wondering what to plant first. A common plant to start with is a butterfly bush, but the colorful plant is actually an invasive species. Instead, why not try some native plants or other pollinator-friendly species that will attract bees, butterflies and birds to your garden?
Using pollinator-attracting plants in your garden yields a number of benefits, including creating a wildlife habitat, helping to manage stormwater, extending the life of your plantings with less maintenance needed, eliminating weeds and, of course, being able to enjoy their natural beauty in your backyard.
The Kemper Center has assembled the following list of the top 12 plants, including some native species, for attracting pollinators to your garden:
Betony, perennial, attracts bees, full sun
Butterfly weed, perennial, attracts bees and butterflies, full sun
Coneflower, perennial, attracts bees, butterflies and birds, sun to part shade
Gayfeather, perennial, attracts butterflies, full sun
Indian Pink, perennial, attracts hummingbirds, part shade to full shade
Penstemon, perennial, attracts bees, full sun
Solitary Clematis, perennial, attracts bees, full sun to part shade
Spiraea, perennial attracts bees and butterflies, full sun
Yarrow, perennial, attracts butterflies, full sun
Lantana, annual, attracts butterflies, full sun
Scarlet Bush, annual, attracts bees, butterflies, and birds, full sun or part shade
Blue Waxweed, annual, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, full sun
The Kemper Center has several resources available with more information to help with your pollinator garden. Check out this information about butterfly gardens, as well as the Garden’s Guide to Native Landscaping in Missouri. You can also visit grownative.org for more information about native plants.
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