Coneflower with Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Blooms for Pollinators from March to November

Terry Hershberger, Merrifield Plant Specialist

Throughout the growing season, we depend on bees, butterflies and other insects that transport pollen from plant to plant to fertilize our plants and successfully ensure that our gardens and farms generate seeds and fruit. To welcome these creatures during the spring, summer and fall, we can plan our gardens to provide an abundance of blooms and nectar for them from early spring through the onset of winter.

If you wish to welcome the bees, butterflies and other pollinators to your garden throughout the growing season, consider adding native plants to your garden that will bloom at various times from March to November, rather than planting so that you will experience one burst of bloom for a short period of time. Much like our surrounding region, you can design a garden which will feature different blooming plants throughout the growing season to support butterflies and bees.

Consider these options for continuous bloom.

Spring: March to May

Bloodroot

Bloodroot

Blooms March to May

This white flower blooms in woodland gardens in part to full shade, making it a good choice for those with limited sunlight.

Columbine

Blooms April to May

This delicate flower can be grown in full sun to part shade. It is particularly attractive to hummingbirds and comes in colors ranging from light pink to dark red and blue.

Wood Poppies

Blooms April to May

A good choice for shady gardens. These plants are a native to the woodlands of our region and feature yellow flowers.

Summer: May to August

Coneflower

Blooms June to August

Purplish-pink blooms are attractive to butterflies and bloom throughout the summer. This plant is tolerant of drought when established.

Liatris spicata

Blooms in June

This member of the aster family features fluffy purple flowers atop talk spikes. This flower grows well in moist areas and is tolerant of clay soil.

Rudbeckia

Blooms May to July

A daisy-like yellow flower which is particularly attractive to butterflies. There are many rudbeckia species native to our region.

Late Summer/Fall: August to November

Blue Lobelia

Blooms August to October

This perennial grows best in wet soil and is native to wet locations in swamps and along streams. Blue tubular flowers grow in racemes reaching up to 3 feet tall.

Goldenrod

Blooms August to November

There are multiple native species of goldenrod blooming from late summer through the fall. As a native to the region, it tolerates clay soil.

New York Ironweed

Blooms August to October

This perennial features purple composite flowers atop tall stems. It is tolerant of wet and clay soil. It requires full sun.

Workhorses

These plants bloom for most of the growing season, from May or June through fall.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)

Blooms June to frost

This milkweed species is a food source for monarch butterflies and a favorite nectar source of butterflies overall.

Gaillardia pulchella

Blooms June to frost

This plant tolerates poor soil and dry heat. It’s petals may be red, yellow, or both. Consider leaving spent flowers for the birds.

Purple Passionflower

Blooms July to September

A climbing, drought tolerant vine with unique fringed flowers. The blooms are a particularly loved by bees.