Bringing Pollinators to Your Garden

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?

Carpenter Bee on Coneflower
Photo by Daria McKelvey

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 for more information about native plants.
Catherine Martin
Public Information Officer

Leave a Reply