Pollinators are buzzing over these late-summer, nectar-rich plants

Pollinators are buzzing over these late-summer, nectar-rich plants

Many plants have finished flowering by late summer, but bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, and hoverflies are still on the wing, foraging for food. Just then the late-flowering plants kick in. Having evolved to bloom late in order to supply pollinators with a constant supply of food right up to last call in autumn, the super-food nectar they produce help insects build up energy needed for winter hibernation. Some late-bloomers also have seed heads that provide birds with a source of winter food, too. Here are a few late-blooming flowering plants that you can plant right now that’ll have pollinators all aflutter come autumn.

Farmington™ Michaelmas Daisy

Farmington™ Michaelmas Daisy

Flat-shaped flowers from August to October make it easy for bees to collect nectar and pollen, and let butterflies soak up the sun. Zone: 3 – 9

Attracts: butterflies, moths, bumblebees, and honeybees

Gibby Hebe

Gibby Hebe

Many Hebe cultivars flower from late summer to autumn. Hardy and easy to grow, this one’s blue-grey leaves make a nice contrast to summery pale lilac flowers. Zone: 7 – 11

Attracts: bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies, moths

Autumn Joy Stonecrop

Autumn Joy Stonecrop

Large, landing-pad-like, rose-pink flower heads that bees love from late summer through fall. Starts green. aging to pink, and finally rosy russet-red. Zone: 4 – 11

Attracts: honeybees, butterflies, and moths

Snow Queen Oakleaf Hydrangea

Snow Queen Oakleaf Hydrangea

Large, long clusters of white flowers that become rose-pink in fall attract pollinators in droves with both food and places to nest. Zone: 5 – 9

Attracts: honeybees, bumblebees, and hoverflies

English Ivy

English Ivy

Maybe you don’t notice the tiny greenish-yellow autumn flowers, but pollinators spot them from a mile away. Many other insects hibernate in the foliage. Zone: 5 – 11

Attracts: honeybees, wasps, butterflies, and hoverflies

Baby Joe Dwarf Pye Weed

Baby Joe Dwarf Pye Weed

Compact version of native, prairie plant produces large flower clusters in late summer. Seed heads provide winter food for birds. Zones: 4 – 9

Attracts: Butterflies, honeybees, and bumblebees

Ruby Charm Helen’s Flower

Ruby Charm Helen’s Flower

Pollinators throng to the abundant, daisy-like flowers and seed-filled heads of this late bloomer (known as sneezeweed). Zone: 4 – 8

Attracts: native bees, honeybees, wasps, hoverflies

Lacey Blue Russian Sage

Lacey Blue Russian Sage

Hardy, heat and drought tolerant, and super nectar-rich, this new selection has an improved, sturdy, compact form. Zone: 4 – 10

Attracts:  honeybees, leaf-cutter bees, butterflies, and hoverflies

Petite Plum® Dwarf Butterfly Bush

Petite Plum® Dwarf Butterfly Bush

This late-bloomer feeds pollinators when others have wrapped it up. Compact variety, perfect for pots. Zone: 5 – 9

Attracts: bees, moths, butterflies, and hoverflies

Butterfly™ Cleopatra Coneflower

Butterfly™ Cleopatra Coneflower

Pollinators love the color yellow and swarm like moths to a flame. Adaptable to heat, humidity, drought and cold when established. Zone: 5 – 8

Attracts: bees, butterflies, moths, and hoverflies

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