Rhododendron Hybrid Calsap

Non-Native Plants to Attract Pollinators

Plants native to New York are the best choice in pollinator gardens as they are disease-resistant and naturally adapted to our environment. Supplementing native plants with some of our favorite non-native, non-invasive plants will guarantee a continuous supply of both nectar and pollen throughout the growing season. Bees and other pollinators need a continuous supply of nectar to provide sugar for energy and pollen to provide vital proteins and fats.

  • Plant each species of flower in drifts of three or more to make it easier for pollinators to locate.
  • Choose old-fashioned simple blooming annuals instead of double blooms and hybrids.

Early/Mid Spring:

  • Bulbs: Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinth, Grape Hyacinth, Snowdrops, Winter Aconite.
  • Perennials: Hellebores, Dianthus (Heirloom Pink).
  • Bushes: Rhododendron and Azalea.
  • Trees: Crabapple, Flowering Cherry and Redbud.
  • Lawns: Clover and Dandelions grow naturally in lawns and provide sustenance to pollinators as they search for food in the early spring when other plants haven’t yet begun to flower. Adjust the lawn mower blade to a height of 3” to ensure the clover and dandelions will survive. Avoid using herbicides to kill these “weeds”. If you must use herbicides, mow off the blooms prior to application to avoid attracting pollinators to toxic plants.

Late Spring/Summer:

  • Bulbs: Alliums, Fritillaries.
  • Annuals: Lantana, Cleome, Marigolds, Cosmos, Petunias, Flowering Tobacco, Fuchsia, Snapdragon, Ageratum, Pentas, Nasturtium.
  • Perennials: English Lavender, ‘Red Lucifer’ Crocosmia, Catmint, Peonies, Coreopsis, Russian sage, Dahlias, Blanket flower, Hollyhock, Daylily, Sweet Alyssum, Shasta daisy, Verbena, Queen Anne’s Lace/Wild Carrot, Forget-me-not.
  • Shade Perennials: Coral Bells, Astilbe, Hosta.
  • Herbs: Rosemary, Dill, Oregano, Basil (allow it to flower), Fennel, Thyme, Cilantro. Plant Mint, Borage and Chives in containers as they can become invasive spreaders in the garden.
  • Bushes: Lilac.

Late Summer/Fall:

  • Annuals: Pineapple sage.
  • Annual Vegetables: Pumpkin, Squash and Tomato (when left to flower), Sweet peas.
  • Perennials: ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum, Chinese Anemone, Yucca, Winter Savory, Red Valerian.
  • Bushes: Oakleaf hydrangea, Rose of Sharon (pluck seedlings to avoid it becoming invasive).

When purchasing plants; ask if they are free of neonicotinoids. This is a newer class of insecticide sprayed on plants prior to sale which is toxic to bees.

Last updated May 10, 2021