Taking Care of Our Nectaring Insects

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male parts of a flower to the female parts of a flower of the same species, which results in fertilization of plant ovaries and the production of seeds. This requires a lot of energy and nectar is a flowers gift to the pollinator for helping them cross pollinate. Our native bees use pollen for their larva. The non-native European honey bee is the only bee to make honey from nectar.


Achillea millefolium - Common Yarrow

White to blush pink flowers in June-August on12-30" tall plants in full sun and dry to average soil. Deer resistant. Drought tolerant. Clay soil tolerant. Fragrant foliage. Can handle some light foot traffic.

Aquilegia canadensis - Wild Columbine

Red and yellow bicolor flowers in May-June on 12-36" plants in full sun to full shade and average to wet soil. Deer resistant. Host plant for Columbine Duskywing butterfly.

Asclepias incarnata - Swamp Milkweed

Pink flowers in July on 36-48" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and average to wet soil but will tolerate some drought. Deer resistant. Host plant for monarch caterpillars and important for native bees and wasps.

Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed

Fragrant purple-pink flowers in June-July on 36-60" tall plants in full sun and dry to moist soil. Very aggressive spreader forming large colonies. Deer resistant and drought tolerant. Host plant for monarch caterpillars and important for native bees and wasps.


Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly Weed

Orange flowers in July-August, 18-36" in full sun and dry to moist but sandy and well drained soil. Deer resistant. Host plant for monarch caterpillars and important for native bees and wasps.

Asclepias verticillata - Whorled Milkweed

White flowers in July toAugust on 12-36" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and dry, well drained soil. Spreads by rhizomes and may be aggressive in a small garden. Host plant for monarch caterpillars and important for native bees and wasps.

Aster cordifolius - Blue Wood Aster

Pale lavender flowers in September-October on 24-48" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and moist to average soil. Trim plants back (1/2 to 2/3) in early July for tidier and more floriferous plants. Great for our late season native pollinators.

Aster novae-angliae - New England Aster

Flowers range in color from lavender, blue to white and sometimes pink in September-October on 36-60" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and moist soil but is quite adaptable to drier soils. Trim plants back (1/2 to 2/3) in early July for tidier and more floriferous plants. Host plant for the Pearl Crescent and Checkerspot butterflies. Great for late season pollinators and is a nectar source for Monarch butterflies.

Aster novae-belgii - New York Aster

Lavender blue flowers in late August-October on 36-60" tall plants in full sun and average to moist soil. Trim plants back (1/2 to 2/3) in early July for tidier and more floriferous plants. Deer resistant. Host plant for the Pearl Crescent butterfly.

Aster oblongifolium ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ - Aromatic Aster

Violet-blue flowers in September-October on 24-36" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and dry to average soil. Trim plants back (1/2 to 2/3) in early July for tidier and more floriferous plants. Tolerates very poor soil including clay and is drought resistant. Deer resistant.

Aster umbellatus - Flat Topped Aster

One of the first asters to bloom with white flowers in August-September on 36-48' plants in full sun to partial shade and moist, well drained soil. Trim plants back (1/2 to 2/3) in early June for tidier and more floriferous plants. Clay soil tolerant. Spreads by rhizomes to form a colony. Host plant for the Pearl Crescent and Harris Checkerspot butterflies. Great for late season pollinators.

Ceanothus americana - New Jersey Tea (Shrub)

Fragrant white flowers in May-June on 36-48' tall plants in full sun to partial shade and dry to average soil. Black walnut (juglone) tolerant. Host plant for the Summer Azure, Spring Azure and the Mottled Duskywing butterflies. Great for native pollinators.

Cephalanthus occidentalis - Buttonbush (Shrub)

Fragrant white flowers in June-August followed by red seed heads persisting into the winter on 6-12' tall multi-stemmed shrub. Prefers full sun to partial shade but will tolerate full shade and moist to wet soil. Does not tolerate any drought. Great for native pollinators and birds. Plants may be cut back to almost the ground if they get too large. Moderately deer resistant.

Clethra alnifolia - Sweet Pepperbush (Shrub)

Fragrant white flowers in July-August on 6-12' tall multi-stemmed shrub. Prefers full sun to partial shade and moist to wet soil. Will adapt to full shade. Not very drought tolerant. Great for native pollinators. Lovely bronze/yellow foliage in fall. Prune in late winter if necessary. Blooms on new wood. Tolerant of salt spray.

Coreopsis lanceolata - Lance-leaf Coreopsis

Large yellow flowers in June-August on 12-24" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and dry to medium soil. Great for naturalizing as it freely self sows in the garden. Plants may be cut back hard in the summer to keep plant tidy. Great for native pollinators and the seeds are consumed by birds. Moderately deer resistant.


Echinacea purpurea - Purple Coneflower

Deep pink/purple flowers in July-August on 24-48" tall plants in full sun to partial shade. Prefers dry to average, well drained soil. Clay soil tolerant. Great for native bees and birds will eat the seeds. Readily self sows in the garden and may become quite aggressive over time.

Eupatorium coelestinum - Blue Mistflower

Lavender blue flowers in August-October on 20-36" tall plants in full sun to partial shade but will tolerate full shade in average-moist soil. Trim plants back (1/2 to 2/3) in early July for tidier and more floriferous plants. Deer resistant. Great for late native pollinators. Self sows readily and spreads by rhizomes to form an aggressive ground cover. Also works great in a planter.


Eupatorium fistulosum - Hollow Joe Pye Weed

Lavender pink flowers in August-September on 5-7' tall (sometimes taller) plants in full sun to partial shade and moist to wet soil. Does not tolerate drought and leaves may scorch. Deer resistant. Makes a great cut and/or dried flower.

Eupatorium maculatum - Spotted Joe Pye Weed

Fragrant mauve-pink flowers in August-October on 3-8' plants in full sun and moist-wet soil. Black walnut (juglone) resistant. Plants may be cut back by mid June to control mature height. Host plant for some moths.

Eupatorium perfoliatum - Boneset

White flowers on 24-48" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and average to wet soil. Does not tolerate drought. Great for late pollinators. Deer resistant. Clay soil tolerate.

Eupatorium purpureum - Joe Pye Weed

Fragrant lavender pink flowers July-September on 5-7' tall plants in full sun to partial shade. Excellent plant for native pollinators and birds. Deer resistant. Clay soil tolerant.


Euthamia graminifolia - Flat Top Goldenrod

Fragrant yellow flowers in July-September on 24-48" tall plants in full sun and moist to average soil. Spreads by rhizomes to form large colonies. Prone to rust but it's usually just a cosmetic issue (can be seen in picture). Great for native pollinators.

Helianthus divaricatus - Woodland Sunflower

Small bright gold flowers in July-September on 36-60" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and dry to medium soil but will adapt to many situations including full shade. Plants may be cut back in early June to promote a tidier and more floriferous display. Spreads by rhizomes to form a dense colony. Deer resistant.

Heliopsis helianthoides - False Sunflower

Large yellow flowers in June-August on 36-60" tall plants in full sun and dry to average soil. It is a short-lived perennial but will self sow readily in the garden. Clay soil tolerant. Makes a great cut flower and is great in a planter.

Liatris scariosa - Devil's Bite

Pink-purple button-shaped flowers in August-October on 24-48" tall plants in full sun and dry - average soil. Drought tolerant. Deer resistant. A favorite for butterflies and native bees.

Liatris spicata - Blazing Star

Rosy-purple spikes of flowers in July-August on 24-36" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and dry to moist soil. Will self sow in the garden. Great for butterflies, bees and birds. Tolerates clay soil. Great as a cut flower and dried flower.

Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower

Scarlet red flowers in July-September on 24-48" tall plants in full sun to full shade and moist to wet soil. Tolerates clay soil. Great for naturalizing as it self sows freely in the garden. Moderately deer and rabbit resistant. Great for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Lobelia siphilitica - Great Blue Lobelia

Blue flowers in July-October on 24-36" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and consistently moist to wet soil as it does not tolerate drought. Great for naturalizing as it self sows readily in the garden. Special value to bumble bees and other native bees. Moderately deer resistant.

Lonicera sempervirens - Coral Honeysuckle (Vine)

Coral red tubular flowers in May and sporadically throughout the year on 15-20' vines in sun to partial shade and average soil. Host plant for Spring Azure and Snowberry Clearwing moth. Great for birds, butterflies and hummingbirds. Needs a little help to get it started climbing. Good choice for arbors.


Monarda didyma - Bee Balm

Bright red flowers in July-September on 24-60" tall plants full sun to partial shade and average to wet soil. Rabbit and deer resistant. Black walnut (juglone) tolerant. Clay soil tolerant. Prone to powdery mildew but it is mainly a cosmetic issue. Fragrant foliage may be used for tea.


Monarda fistulosa - Wild Bergamot

Lavender flowers in July-September on 24-60" tall plants in full sun to partial shade in dry-average soil. Deer resistant. Black walnut (juglone) tolerant. Prone to powdery mildew but it is mainly a cosmetic issue. Fragrant foliage may be used for tea and perfumes.

Monarda punctata - Spotted Horsemint

Short-lived perennial with yellow flowers with purple spots and pink or white bracts in June-August on 12-36" tall plants in full sun and dry soil. Deer resistant. Rabbit resistant. May self sow in the garden and spread by rhizomes. Pollinator magnet!

Physostegia virginiana - Obedient Plant

Pink flower in August-October on 24-48" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and average to moist soil. Deer resistant. Clay soil tolerant. Trim plants back (1/2 to 2/3) in early June for tidier and more floriferous plants. Spreads by rhizomes and self sows readily in the garden. May become aggressive but its shallow roots are easy to pull if necessary.


Pycnanthemum muticum - Short Toothed Mountain Mint

White flowers with purple spots and silver bracts in July-September on 24-36" tall plants in full sun to shade and dry to moist soil. Deer and rabbit resistant. Great in a planter. May be used for erosion control Host plant for the Gray Hairstreak butterfly. Magnet for all native pollinators.


Pycnanthemum tenuifolium - Slender-leaf Mountain Mint

White flowers with purple spots in July-September on 24-36" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and average to dry soil. Deer resistant. Clay soil tolerant. Great in a planter. Magnet for all native pollinators.

Solidago rigida - Stiff Goldenrod

Yellow flowers in September-October on 24-60" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and moist to dry soil. Black walnut (juglone) tolerant. Deer resistant. May be a bit too aggressive for small gardens. Self sows heavily in the garden. Trim plants back (1/2 to 2/3) in early June for tidier and more floriferous plants. Great for late season pollinators.

Solidago sempervirens - Seaside Goldenrod

One-sided clusters of yellow flowers in August-September on 24-72" tall plants in full sun and dry, well drained soil. Very well behaved in the garden as it is a clump forming perennial. Trim plants back (1/2 to 2/3) in early June for tidier and more floriferous plants. Deer resistant. Salt spray resistant.

Solidago speciosa - Showy Goldenrod

Yellow flowers in September on 24-60" tall plants in full sun to partial shade. Trim plants back (1/2 to 2/3) in early June for tidier and more floriferous plants. May be very aggressive in ideal soil. Great for late season pollinators. Deer resistant. Clay soil tolerant.


Vernonia noveboracensis - New York Ironweed

Purple pink flowers in August-September on 48-72" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and moist to wet soil. Self sows readily in the garden. Trim plants back (1/2 to 2/3) in early June for tidier and more floriferous plants. Deer resistant. Clay soil tolerant. Black Walnut (juglone) tolerant. Great for late season pollinators and birds. A good plant for small spaces as it is a tall and narrow plant.

Veronicastrum virginicum - Culver's Root

White to pale lavender flowers in July-September on 48-72" tall plants in full sun to partial shade and moist to wet soil. Great in a planter.


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References:

1.https://pollinator.org/PDFs/Guides/EasternBroadleafOceanicrx20FINAL.pdf

2.https://www.xerces.org

3.https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/documents/AttractingPollinatorsEasternUS_V1.pdf

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