Plants Beneficial for Pollinators

Pollinator Info

Without the actions of pollinators, agricultural economies, our food supply, and surrounding landscapes would collapse. Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. They also sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce.

Pollinating animals travel from plant to plant carrying pollen on their bodies in a vital interaction that allows the transfer of genetic material critical to the reproductive system of most flowering plants – the very plants that bring us countless fruits, vegetables, and nuts, ½ of the world’s oils, fibers and raw materials. They also prevent soil erosion and increase carbon sequestration This nearly invisible ecosystem service is a precious resource that requires attention and support and in disturbing evidence found around the globe, is increasingly in jeopardy.

Pollinator populations are changing. Many pollinator populations are in decline and this decline is attributed most severely to a loss in feeding and nesting habitats. Pollution, the misuse of chemicals, disease, and changes in climatic patterns are all contributing to shrinking and shifting pollinator populations. In some cases there isn’t enough data to gauge a response, and this is even more worrisome.

How can I help the pollinators?

One of the easiest ways to help the pollinators is to choose plants that are beneficial for them. Below is a list of all of the different trees, shrubs and perennials that benefit pollinators.

Perennials & Grasses

Common NameBotanical NameBloom timePlant type
Little BluestemSchizachyrium scopariumFallGrass
Prairie DropseedSporobolus heterolepsisFallGrass
Switch GrassPanicum virgatumFallGrass
Golden AlexanderZizia AureaSpring (Early/Mid)Perennial
Wild CranesbillGeranium maculatumSpring (Early/Mid)Perennial
Common SpiderwortTradescantia ohiensisSpring (Early/Mid)Perennial
LungwortPulmonariaSpring (Early/Mid)Perennial
Virginia BluebellsMertensia virginicaSpring (Early/Mid)Perennial
False IndigoBaptisia australisSpring (Early/Mid)Perennial
Pale Purple ConeflowerEchinacea pallidaSpring (Mid/Late)Perennial
Foxglove BeardtonguePenstemon digitalisSpring (Mid/Late)Perennial
CatmintNepetaSpring (Mid/Late)Perennial
Purple Prairie CloverDalea purpureaSummer (Early/Mid)Perennial
White Wild IndigoBaptisia albaSummer (Early/Mid)Perennial
False SunflowerHeliopsisSummer (Early/Mid)Perennial
MilkweedAsclepiasSummer (Early/Mid)Perennial
Bee BalmMonardaSummer (Early/Mid)Perennial
Black Eyed SusanRudbeckiaSummer (Early/Mid)Perennial
CoreopsisCoreopsisSummer (Early/Mid)Perennial
AlliumAlliumSummer (Mid/Late)Perennial
HyssopAgastacheSummer (Mid/Late)Perennial
IronweedVernoniaSummer (Mid/Late)Perennial
Blazing Star (Rough or Marsh)LiatrisSummer (Mid/Late)Perennial
Cardinal FlowerLobeliaSummer (Mid/Late)Perennial
Russian SagePerovskiaSummer (Mid/Late)Perennial
Joe Pye WeedEupatoriumSummer (Mid/Late)Perennial
Mountain mintPycnanthemum virginianumSummer (Mid/Late)Perennial
Culver’s RootVeronicastrum virginicumSummer (Mid/Late)Perennial
AsterSymphyotrichumFallPerennial
SedumSedumFallPerennial
GoldenrodSolidagoFallPerennial
TurtleheadCheloneFallPerennial
Salvia-SalviaSpring (Mid/Late)Perennial/Annual
Pennsylvania SedgeCarex pensylvanicaSedge

Trees & Shrubs

Common NameBotanical NameBloom timePlant type
Vernal WitchhazelHamamelis vernalisSpring (Early/Mid)Large Shrub
Oakleaf HydrangeaHydrangea quercifoliaSummerLarge Shrub/Small Tree
NinebarkPhysocarpusSpring (Mid/Late)Shrub
Button BushCephelanthus occientalisSummer (Mid/Late)Shrub
Butterfly BushBuddleiaSummer (Mid/Late)Shrub
ChokeberryAroniaSpring (Mid/Late)Shrub
Cornelian Cherry DogwoodCornus masSpring (Early/Mid)Tree
Seven-Son FlowerHeptacodium miconioidesFallTree
ServiceberryAmelanchierSpringTree
LindenTilia americanaSpring (Late)Tree
TuliptreeLiriodendron tulipieraSummer (Early)Tree