5 Favorite Plants for Pollinators

As a child, Betty, Perennial Team Lead in Naperville, helped her mom with her flower gardens. She's always enjoyed nature and wildlife. “I lived in a wooded area and there was a lot of wildlife, birds, and pollinators,” said Betty. “I just started buying plants for them. They do come if you put the plants out there.”

At TGP we have a wide variety of annuals and perennials that will provide color through the seasons and attract the bees, birds, and butterflies to your garden. These are some of our favorites to get you started.

Common Milkweed

Asclepias, also known as Butterfly Weed or Milkweed, is the only plant where Monarch butterflies lay their eggs. Milkweed is available as a perennial or an annual and provides a source of food for the caterpillars. The Growing Place in Naperville has a butterfly nursery. Already this year Swallowtail eggs have already been found on a dill plant and Monarch eggs on milkweed. They transported the eggs to a damp paper towel in a little container until they hatched in a few days. The Monarch caterpillars were fed milkweed leaves for about two weeks and then the caterpillars formed into a chrysalis. Once they emerge the butterflies will be released to fly to treetops and flowers. Butterflies are most attracted to flowers that grow in the sun, produce nectar and have a fragrance. Tempt them with purple, yellow, orange and red flowers, such as Lantana, Petunias, and Calibrachoa.

Buddleia bloom in many shades of pinks, whites, and purples.

Buddleia, the Butterfly Bush, is usually covered with Monarchs more towards fall. Many of the same pollinating plants that attract butterflies also attract hummingbirds. This shrub can grow 4-5 feet high and wide, exploding in color for a late summer pollinator paradise. Deer tend to leave it alone for tastier treats. It is a more tender perennial so plant it in a sheltered spot away from our harsh winter winds and wait to trim it back in the spring.

Penstemon flowers

The masses of tubular flowers of Penstemon, commonly called Beard Tongue, also entice hummingbirds. To supply an endless supply of nectar for the pollinators, design your garden for continuous bloom from spring to fall. Tubular flowers hold more nectar. The beautiful spikes of flowers on Beard Tongue rise above the foliage, signaling a smorgasbord for the hummingbirds and butterflies. Stopping for a split second for red, hummingbirds are also enticed with lobelia and red salvia.

Bees are important pollinators. They pollinate 30% of our food sources in the US. Most native bees do not sting and are entrancing to watch alongside the butterflies. Did you know bees cannot see red? They find flowers by scent and colors such as a mixture of blue, yellow and white. The many varieties of annual and perennial Salvia blooming late spring into fall provide a haven for bees. They also like the bold colors of impatiens planted in borders or groupings near trees and shrubs.

If you plant several varieties of Echinacea in your garden they will cross-pollinate and make new colors!

The coneflower, Echinacea, draws bees, butterflies, and birds. The single flowered-type are more suitable than the double-flowered for pollinators. Mix them for texture and pizazz as you sit on the patio chasing butterflies with your eyes.

Along with food, these garden visitors need shelter. Perennials and vines on the ground provide shelter for birds. They cool off under a variety of plantings in close proximity. They can also feed on the insects drawn to flower beds. Perennial flower seed heads provide food for doves, finches, and sparrows. Left on the plant, seed heads add fascinating shapes to fall and winter landscapes. Add Black Eyed Susans, Coreopsis and Daisies for whimsy and wonder to your pollinator paradise.

Pollination is fertilization for plants. We love the beauty that flowers, shrubs, and trees bring to our yards. To help the butterflies and bees do not use pesticides or insecticides on or near your garden. Understanding nature helps us sustain a viable environment for the wildlife that eats the mosquitoes and fertilizes our crops. Providing water, shelter, and food for bees, birds, butterflies and even bats brings hours of entertainment in nature to your own backyard.

Aurora Location

2000 Montgomery Road,

Aurora, IL 60504

Phone. 630-820-8088

Naperville Location

25w471 Plank Road,

Naperville, IL 60563

Phone. 630-355-4000

Spring Hours

March 30-June 30

Monday-Friday: 9am-7pm

Saturday: 9am-5pm

Sunday: 11am-5pm

Memorial Day Hours

Monday, May 27


Growing for the future with
right plantsĀ in right places.