9 Pollinator-Friendly Perennials

Catch the latest buzz on these
“bee-loved” bloomers!

A garden is much more than flowers. It includes all the tiny bugs that feed our soil, the birds that we attract, and of course, the beautiful butterflies, bees, and moths that pollinate our flowers and vegetables. It’s best to plant a variety of flower shapes, several native plants, and a selection of perennials that bloom throughout the season to attract a wide range of pollinators. Here are some favorites that thrive in Bettendorf!

Monarch butterfly and bee. Wallace. Pollinator-Friendly Perennials

Coneflower 

These native flowers are loaded with nectar and pollen for the bees to enjoy. Also known as Echinacea, the flowerheads can be dried for an immune-boosting tea. They love to grow in dense clusters in full sun, and their flower shape accommodates long-tongued bees, one of the dozens of wild species that can visit our garden.     

Milkweed 

Milkweed is known for its majestic orange blossoms that attract butterflies, especially the Monarch. As it’s their only host plant, you may find a few Monarch butterfly eggs or beneath the leaves. Watch for their cute, striped caterpillars to follow! Milkweeds bloom for almost three months, and deadheading stimulates a second flowering. 

Sage (Salvia) 

The rich fragrance of Sage alone will attract pollinators to your yard—not to mention the incredible blue-violet flowers that bloom in early summer. This hardy perennial thrives in dry conditions, and you can make a wonderful spice with its leaves. The low-maintenance needs of Sage make it an excellent filler for your perennial border.  

Thyme

Bees will flock to this ground cover when its magenta flowers open in the summer. It’s perfect for growing between stepping stones or for filling in any bare spots in your beds. Extremely tough, it withstands drought and overwinters better than most rocks. Harvest the leaves to enjoy in your favorite dish, or try it in our focaccia bread.      

Lavender 

Pollinators from far and wide will visit Lavender’s purple flowers throughout the summer. Another native of the Mediterranean, like Thyme, it loves full sun and tolerates drought. You can cut and dry the silver-green leaves and flowers for potpourri, tea, or cooking. 

Bee on Catnip. Wallace. Pollinator-Friendly Perennials.

Catmint 

You can enjoy this herb in a relaxing tea, but you may not need to, as the fragrance tends to bathe your whole garden in its calming scent. It’s subtle indigo flowers bloom for a long time throughout the summer, making it ideal for nourishing pollinators. Try growing it near brightly colored red or yellow flowers for a beautiful contrast!     

Black-Eyed Susans 

This perennial in the sunflower family exhibits cheerful blooms from July to mid-October. Like Sunflowers, these bright yellow flowers add a sunny personality to your border and produce plenty of nectar for the birds, bugs, and butterflies. Goldfinches love to eat the seeds, too, so feel free to leave the spent flowers standing!   

Asters 

This meadow flower feeds pollinators late in the season with its pink, violet, or blue flowers. When other bloomers begin to wane, its stunning blooms inspire you right into the fall. As a native to North America, they are easy to grow, durable, and long-lasting.     

Bee Balm 

We’ve already praised this perennial for attracting hummingbirds to your yard. It offers abundant pollen, a beautiful oregano-mint scent, and such stunning flowers that we have to mention it again! Also known as Wild Bergamot, Bee Balm is a native of the Iowa grasslands, but gardeners have developed many specialty cultivars. You can find them in a range of colors from scarlet and raspberry red to lavender or pink. This plant that attracts hummingbirds blooms in mid- to late summer.” 

If you were to plant all of these beauties, your garden would be brimming with perfume and color—precisely the kind of habitat that pollinators love! By simply growing these perennials, we can create food and homes for many of the wild insects that share our places. Visit our garden center soon to start your pollinator garden! 

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