butterfly with flowers

We can all agree that summers in Minnesota are full of dancing pollinators, from beautiful butterflies to beneficial bees. With a pollinator garden of your own, you can attract a variety of butterflies and bees. Here are the top 5 perennial plants for pollinators in Minnesota to make your backyard a pollinator playground this summer… and next!

Milkweed with butterfly

#1 Asclepias sp. commonly named Milkweed or Butterfly Weed

Asclepias sp. is most commonly known as milkweed or butterfly weed and is native to Minnesota. Asclepias syriaca and Asclepias incarnata, also known as common milkweed and swamp milkweed showcase blooms in shades of pink, purple or white. Monarch butterflies depend solely on common milkweed as a food source in their caterpillar stage and will lay their eggs on its foliage. Asclepias tuberosa or butterfly weed displays bright orange flowers in a ball full of small petals. Asclepias blooms are nectar-rich so you’ll be sure to attract both butterflies and bees where planted!

Ironweed Purple

#2 Vernonia sp. commonly named Ironweed

Easily recognized by bunches of bright purple flowers, Vernonia sp. also known as Ironweed, is next in line for best perennial plant to attract pollinators. Ironweed makes a great backsplash to any garden as it stands tall on sturdy stems with a wide spread. Butterflies and hummingbirds are sure to be fluttering around these when they are in bloom, most common blooms are in July, August, and September.

bee in anise hyssop

#3 Agastache foeniculum commonly named Anise Hyssop

Agastache foeniculum, or commonly named Anise Hyssop is a popular native pollinator plant, especially for bees. It grows lavenders stocks of little blooms that stand tall and wave with a slight breeze. Agastache foeniculum makes great borders in any garden or planted in mass groupings. Along with it’s beauty, it also has a fun fragrance; when the leaves are crushed it smells of licorice. Place Anice Hyssops in your garden to attract pollinators and hummingbirds love them too!

butterfly on coneflower

#4 Echinacea sp. commonly named Coneflower

You are sure to make a statement with Echinacea sp., with it’s large blooms that attract not only butterflies but, bees and hummingbirds as well.
A genus to the daisy family these flowers bloom from late June until the first frost, sure to keep your pollinators dancing all summer long! Coneflowers come in an array of different colors depending on the cultivar. The native varieties bloom in shades of purple and yellow, common cultivated varieties are orange, white, purple, pink, and red. Coneflowers make for a great pop of color in your pollinator garden and looks best when planted as a middle filler and en masse.

butterfly on white flower

#5 Eupatorium sp. commonly named Boneset

Eupatorium sp. or commonly called Boneset has unique and fragrant foliage. Bonesets bloom in whites and pinks at the top of the plant in abundance, across its saucer-like clusters . With their color and fragrance Bonesets are one of the most common plants to attract pollinators in Minnesota. Shorter varieties of Eupatorium sp.’s make for a great border amid your pollinator garden and the native varieties create a stunning backdrop reaching heights up to six feet. Got water? Eupatoriums are excellent rain garden and pond side planting perennials as they like to dip their toes in the water.

Minnesota summers are the perfect time to build a pollinator garden. They will attract all kinds of pollinators, especially butterflies. You can always keep adding to your pollinator garden every year and diversity is key mixing a variety of perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs with multiple bloom periods. You can see a full list of perennials we carry on our website. Use this guide, Top 5 Plants in Minnesota for pollinators, to see more butterflies and bees in your garden!

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