What are the Best Pollinator Plants for Bees and Butterflies?

monarch butterfly on a pollinator plant

Bees and butterflies are delightful visitors to a garden, and not just because they are beautiful and fascinating to watch. We need bees and butterflies to pollinate our plants for food production. Growing a garden that can support natural pollinators will also boost the health of your local environment and increase biodiversity. So, which plants should you add to your garden to attract bees and butterflies? 

Here are some of the most popular and some of the least known options.  

The Best Pollinator Plants for Bees and Butterflies 

Milkweed (Asclepias 

There are many wild and cultivated variants of milkweed that you can experiment with. In particular, you can find short and tall versions to help add a vertical dimension to your garden.  

The common milkweed grows and spreads rapidly, where other varieties like the butterfly milkweed grow to be about 2-3 feet tall. The milkweed is the only host plant for a monarch butterfly, and provides an excellent source of nectar for bees, beetles, flower flies and moths. With the different varieties you are sure to attract many different species of pollinators, while also adding colourful additions to your pollinator garden. The milk weed needs full sun, with early bloom varieties blooming in June, and the butterfly milkweed blooming in July and August.   

Purple Coneflower (Echinecea) 

Purple Coneflower is also well-known by its scientific name, Echinacea. There are many varieties of Purple Coneflower you can try, but the most popular for pollinators is Echinacea purpurpea. This variety produces many tall, single-stemmed flowers. While parts of this plant are sometimes turned into supplements, they can are even better for the health of your local pollinators. This purple flower lasts for a long time, providing a more consistent food source for pollinators than many short-blooming plants.  hummingbird with pollinator plant

Speedwell (Veronica) 

You won’t see speedwell on many lists of the best pollinator plants, but we’re not sure why. These rare, beautiful flowers attract plenty of pollinators. It also blooms from spring to fall, like other ideal pollinator plants. The plant is also very versatile in the garden, as it is available in a range of colours, including blue, white, violet and pink. If you are looking to get visits from Hummingbirds, Speedwell is a great choice.

New England Aster (Novae Angliae)   

Many people plant milkweed to help support monarchs. While monarchs need milkweed to support their caterpillars, they also need a good source of nectar before they make their migration down to Mexico. New England Aster is an excellent flower to fulfill this need. It blooms pink flowers right on time to give monarchs the last big meal they need to head south. Plus, it may also attract some pretty moths. 

Plants are a beautiful addition to any garden, but you can also help the earth by planting a garden that is bee and butterfly friendly! Let the experts at Lawrence Park Complete Garden Care help you achieve a beautiful and eco-friendly garden.