Today we’re heading to Averill Park, New York, with Stephanie Stewart.
These are shots of some of my favorite pollinators. The hummingbirds are attracted to salvia (Salvia guaranitica, Zone 7–10 or as an annual), honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), and trumpet vine (Campsis radicans, Zones 5–9) in our garden. The butterflies love the many colors of phlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8), coneflowers (Echinacea species and hybrids, Zones 4–9) and Hydrangea. The hummingbird moth is especially interested in bee balm (Monarda spp., Zones 4–7) in reds and pinks.
Growing a wide variety of plants attracts them all!
Hummingbirds come in for a sweet nectar snack from salvia blossoms. The long, tubular flowers of salvia evolved to reserve the nectar for hummingbirds, as other pollinators don’t have long enough tongues to reach the nectar. But sometimes bees—especially bumblebees—cheat a little, doing something called “nectar robbing.” They bite holes in the base of the flower to sneak in and get the nectar sideways. If lots of bees start nectar robbing, you won’t see as many hummingbirds on your salvia.
Though many hummingbird-pollinated flowers are red, they aren’t always, and hummingbirds are happy to visit any flower with abundant nectar.
A lovely hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus hybrid, Zones 5–9) bloom, with a darker pattern in the flower center called a nectar guide, which helps pollinators home in on the sweet reward.
If you are aiming for pollinators, choosing echinacea varieties with the normal single row of petals like this orange hybrid will provide the most nectar and pollen, as opposed to the double-flowered forms with extra petals.
A hummingbird approaching trumpet vine, a classic red-flowered plant specializing in hummingbirds as pollinators.
Butterflies rejoicing in echinacea blooms
More butterflies stop by on brilliant pink echinaceas.
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