Skagit County Master Gardener Foundation

Cultivating plants, people and communities since 1977

2020_July 10_DG-nkcrowell-17

What is pollination?

Pollination is the means by which plants produce seeds.  It occurs when pollen grains from a flower’s male parts (anthers) are transported to the female part (stigma) of the same species.  Most plants cannot set seed without being pollinated. While wind and water can also move pollen, most plants depend on pollinators to transport pollen.

Plants produce scents and/or nectar to attract pollinators.  As pollinators collect nectar from one flower, some of the pollen grains attach to their legs, abdomen, and/or other body parts.  When the pollinator moves to the next flower, the pollen grains are likewise transported, some of which are then deposited in that flower.

hummingbird on fuschia by Nancy Crowell


Who are our pollinators?

Pollinators are more than bees, butterflies and birds.  They are all of the animals that move pollen between flowers, including moths, wasps, flies, beetles, and some bats.

What Can you Do for Pollinators?

- Provide a wildflower-rich habitat in a sunny spot
- Use native plants which are often the best sources of nectar and pollen for native pollinators and can serve also as larval host plants

  • Choose a variety of colors and shapes to attract a range of pollinators
  • Choose plants with bloom times from early spring to late fall
  • Plant in clumps rather than singly
  • Combine annuals and perennials

- Create habitat for nesting, resting, egg-laying and larval food

  • Keep some fallen branches and brush in places in your garden
  • Provide small patches of bare ground

- Avoid pesticides and herbicides. Herbicides, while normally not directly lethal to insects, can reduce plant diversity and thus essential pollen and nectar for pollinators.
- Provide a water source. Butterflies often congregate on wet sand or mud to drink water and extract minerals from the damp puddles. Many people are familiar with birdbaths, but remember to give birds, as well as bees and other insects, a landing pad so that they can drink the water from the bath.


The Pollinator Garden is planted with an assortment of both native and non-native shrubs and perennials. Plants chosen are known to be nectar and pollen sources for diversity of pollinators.

honey bee on flower by Nancy Crowell

Why are pollinators important?

Pollinators are almost as important as sunlight, soil and water to the reproductive success of more than 75% of the world’s flowering plants.  They play a key role in our ecosystem and are an essential link in agriculture.  They also provide nutrition in the form of seeds and fruits for many wild animals, both large and small.

lavender and hotlips A Foster

Pollinator Garden Plant List

#Botanical NameCultivarCommon nameTreeNativePollinatorsBloom Time
1Helleborus orientalislenten rosebees, flies, hummingbirdswinter-early spring
2Narcissus pseudonarcissusdaffodil*beesearly spring
3Anemone nemorosawood anemonebees. hover fliesearly spring
4Nicotiana x. alata 'Saratoga White'tobacco planthawkmothsspring-summer
5Hakonechloa macra 'Blades of Glory' (Sunflare TM)Japanese forest grasswindspring
6Polygonatum Solomon's sealbeesspring
7Primula 'Sweetheart'pink primrosebeesspring
8Primula 'Corporal Baxter'double red primrosebeesspring
9Tulipatuliphummingbirds, bees, butterfliesspring
10Camassia leichtliniigreat camas*bees, hover flies, beetlesspring-early summer
11Camassia quamashcommon camas*bees, hover flies, beetlesspring
12Aquilegia skinneri 'Tequila Sunrise'columbinehummingbirds, bees, butterfliesspring-early summer
13Aquilegia vulgariscommon columbinehummingbirds, butterflies, beesspring-early summer
14Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple'coral bellshummingbirds, beeslate spring-early summer
15Crocosmia x curtonus 'Lucifer'montbretiahummingbirdssummer
16Salvia microphyllahot lipshummingbirds, bees, butterfliessummer-fall
17Potentilla fruiticosapotentilla*beeslate spring-fall
18Allium spaerocephalon 'Drumsticks'drumstick alliumhummingbirds, beessummer
19Sedum spathulifoliumPacific stonecrop, broadleaf stonecrop*butterflies, beesspring-summer
20Antirrhinum majus 'Sonnet Mix'snapdragonbeeslate spring-fall
21Geranium sanguineumcranesbill geraniumbeeslate spring-fall
22Meconopsis cambricayellow Welsh poppybeeslate spring-fall
23Calendula officinaliscalendula, pot marigoldbutterfliesspring-fall
24Lobularia maritimasweet alyssum*bees, butterflies, hummingbirdsspring-late fall
25Coreopsis roseapink coreopsisbees, butterfliesearly summer-fall
26Echinacea 'Sundown'coneflowerbutterflies, hummingbirdsearly summer-fall
27Asclepias tuberosabutterfly weedbutterflies, hummingbirdsearly summer-fall
28Allium giganteumgiant alliumbees, butterfliessummer
29Penstemon x glaxinoides 'Garnet'garnet penstemonbees, butterflies. hummingbirdssummer
30Astilbe chinensis 'Maggie Daley'Maggie Daley false spireabees, butterflies, moths, fliessummer
31Echinops bannaticus 'Blue Glow'blue globe thistlebees, butterflies, hoverfliessummer
32Hemerocallis lilioasphodelusyellow daylilyhummingbirds, bees, butterflies, fliessummer
33Kniphofia uvariayellow-orange torch lilyhummingbirds, beetlessummer
34Lavendula angustifoliaEnglish lavenderbees, butterfliessummer
35Sedum albumwhite stonecropbeessummer
36Sedum kamtschaticumorange stonecropbeessummer
37Spirea japonica 'Walbuma'magic carpet spireabutterfliesmid-late summer
38Achillea millefoliumcommon yarrow*beneficial insectssummer-fall
39Borago officinalisboragebees, syrphidfliessummer-fall
40Fuchsia magellanica var. gracilis 'Aurea'golden leaved hardy fuchsiahummingbirds, beessummer-fall
41Rudbeckia fulgidaconeflowerbees, butterflies, beneficial insectssummer-fall
42Geum hybrid 'Fireball'giant avensbutterfliessummer-fall
43Helianthus annuus 'Teddy Bear'sunflower*bees, butterfliessummer-fall
44Campenula rotundifoliaharebellbeessummer-fall
45Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'George Davidson'montbretiahummingbirds, butterfileslate summer-fall
46Hylotelephium 'Autumn Joy', 'Herbstfreude'autumn joy sedum, stonecropbutterflieslate summer-fall
47Solidago rugosagoldenrodbeeslate summer-fall
48Schizostylis coccineacrimson flag lilybeeslate summer-fall
49Arbutus unedo compactadwarf strawberry treehummingbirdsfall-winter