More than milkweed: plants for pollinators Email
Wednesday, June 24, 2020 04:00 AM

bees on a sunflowerAs interest continues to grow in gardening to support pollinator health, it can be helpful to have a list of recommended plants for homeowners who want to attract butterflies and bees to their yards. There is no shortage of resources to help you develop your own list of preferred plants.

Native plants for native pollinators
The Colorado Native Plant Society is an excellent resource for plants that support native pollinators. They even offer a list of pollinator-friendly native plants that require little water—a bonus for our dry climate. 

Some of their recommendations include:

  • Pasque flower Pulsatilla ludoviciana (P. patens), an early spring bloomer
  • Blanketflower Gaillardia aristata, for summer color
  • Colorado blue columbine Aquilegia caerulea, our state flower that blooms insummer
  • Rocky Mountain penstemon Penstemon strictus for summer blooms
  • Common Sunflower Helianthus annuus or Prairie Sunflower Helianthus petiolaris, a trendy favorite that provides late summer blooms
  • Rabbitbrush (Rubber rabbitbrush; includes Dwarf blue & Tall Green) Chrysothamnus nauseosus
  • Chokecherry Prunus virginiana (Padus virginiana) ssp. Melanocarpa

Plants that feed pollinators and humans
Edible gardens can serve multiple needs by providing food and beauty while attracting pollinators. Good choices include:

  • Pumpkin
  • Zucchini
  • Watermelon
  • Cucumbers
  • Turnips 

Herbs can serve as excellent pollinator plants, too. They can also spice up dinner. Your clients might consider these varieties to bring in bees and other pollinators:

  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Thyme 
  • Hyssop
  • Lavender

Since some of these plants may be new to customers, it’s nice to provide them with recipes or recommendations on using these plants in the kitchen. Look online for simple recipes that showcase the garden bounty and don’t require additional unusual ingredients.

Visit or CSU Extension for more pollinator garden resources.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Presidential order halts H-2B visas for 2020
Houzz finds homeowners moving forward with renovations
Keep crews safe in the heat

Supporting pollinators is good for business