Bee and Lavender

TOP POTTED PLANTS THAT ENTICE POLLINATORS

Many of us have designated pollinator gardens, or sections of our gardens that are more friendly to bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. But what about our container gardens? There’s a massive number of plants ideal for container gardening that also lure in those valuable pollinating friends. Remember, almost any plant that can grow in the ground can also grow happily in a container, as long as you keep the soil fed and irrigated properly. Here’s what you need to know.

hummingbird and flower
Butterfly searching for nectar

POTTED PLANTS THAT ENTICE POLLINATORS

Container Planting Considerations
Before you start creating your miniature habitat, make sure you follow these guidelines:

  • Always use high-quality potting soil, never regular garden soil, and plan to fertilize regularly as your specific plants demand. I love to add worm castings to my potted plants at planting time — the health and growth of my plants are simply phenomenal.
  • Group plants in a container that have the same growing needs in terms of sunlight and water. Drought tolerant rosemary will not thrive in a container with water-loving mint, for example.
  • Water regularly — plan on once a day, but don’t be surprised when the hot weather hits if you need to water twice a day. And never let a container sit in a saucer full of water — when you’re sure the water has drained out, empty the saucer water into another container.
Monarch Pollinator
Mothhawk finding nectar

Flower Characteristics that Attract Pollinators

  • Color: Different pollinators prefer specific flower colors. Bees gravitate towards blue, lavender, purple, white and yellow, while butterflies prefer white, pink, purple, red, yellow and orange. Want hummingbirds? Go for red, yellow, orange, pink and purple. Moths, on the other hand, love white or pale-hued nocturnal flowers.
  • Shape: There is a wide range of flower shapes, from bell, tubular, brush, and flag, to bowl, bunched, lipped, compound florets, fluffy catkins and more. A pollinator-specific internet search will tell you which insect prefers which shape.
  • Scent: Highly scented plants let pollinators know they are open for business. Butterflies tend to be more attracted to color and scent rather than fragrance, however, because they have less sensitive olfactory senses.

Pollinating Plants by Category

Herbs

Dill

Mint

Hyssop

Lavender

Rosemary

Yarrow

Calendula

Chives

Bronze fennel

Annuals

Nasturtium

Poppies

Bachelor’s buttons

Nicotiana

Sunflowers

Celosia

Perennials

Purple coneflower

Milkweed

Butterfly bush

Salvia

Cuphea

Bee balm

Lantana

Black-eyed Susan

Coreopsis

Edibles

Strawberries

Blueberries

Raspberries

Patio-sized tomatoes

Squash

Beans (on a trellis or “teepee” structure w/poles)

Potted pollinator plants pin
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