Green Bay Botanical Garden’s horticulture team shares noteworthy topics to keep you on-trend.
Help save the pollinators by planting your own Pollinator Garden! Many pollinator species are facing declines in population due to habitat loss and excessive pesticide use. We rely on many of these pollinators for the food we eat, so let’s return the favor and help them out with the food they eat.
Who are the pollinators?
Bees and butterflies may be the most well known pollinators, but don’t forget about moths, flies, beetles, bats and birds, too.
What plants do pollinators prefer?
Perennial flowers such as:
• Agastache foeniculum, anise hyssop
• Asclepias syriaca, common milkweed
• Echinacea purpurea, purple coneflower
• Liatris pycnostachya, prairie blazing star
• Monarda fistulosa, wild bergamont
• Rudbekia hirta, black-eyed susan
• Solidago speciosa, showy goldenrod
Annual flowers such as:
• Lantana camara, lantana
• Nicotiana spp., flowering tobacco
• Tithonia rotundifolia, Mexican sunflower
• Zinnia spp., zinnia
Trees and shrubs such as:
• Amelanchier arborea, downy serviceberry
• Hamamelis virginiana, American witch-hazel
• Sambucus canadensis, American elderberry
What makes a good Pollinator Garden?
• Use plants that provide nectar and pollen sources
• Provide a water source
• Be situated in sunny areas with wind breaks
• Create large masses of native or non-invasive plants
• Establish continuous bloom throughout the growing season
• Eliminate or minimize the impact of pesticides
Although it’s not necessary to have every plant on the list, by planting a diversity of nectar sources you will help attract a diversity of pollinators.
Botanical Name: Asclepias syriaca Life Cycle: Perennial
Common Name: Common Milkweed Light: Full Sun
Bloom Time: June to August Size: 2-3’ tall, 1’ wide
What makes it a good pollinator plant?
The flowers of common milkweed are a nectar source for butterflies, while the foliage serves as a food source for monarch butterfly larvae (caterpillars). It also attracts bees and hummingbirds. This native perennial grows easily in average to poor soils and is drought tolerant. It is also great for prairies, native plant gardens and meadows or naturalized areas. Common milkweed self-seeds and spreads by rhizomes, so it is sometimes considered too vigorous by many gardeners.
Try these species for more compact growth: Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed), Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed), Asclepias purpurascens (purple milkweed)
The Garden is part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, and we want you to join us! This is a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes for our pollinators. Once you create your pollinator paradise BEE sure to join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge by adding your garden to the map. Then BEE sure to visit the Pollinator Garden this summer in the Herb Garden!
Visit the Brown County Bee Keepers Association to:
You’ll find each of these at Green Bay Botanical Garden if you’d like to take a look to see if it’s the right fit for your garden.