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
1Achillea millefoliumcommon yarrow*bees, beetlessummer-fall
2Alchemilla mollis lady's mantlebeessummer
3Aquilegia canadensis 'Pink Lanterns'columbinehummingbirds, bees, butterfliesspring-early summer
4Clematis x cartmanii 'Avalanche'avalanche clematishummingbirds, bees, butterfliesspring
5Clematis integrifolia 'Roguchi'solitary virgin's bowerhummingbirds, butterflieslate summer-fall
6Clematis 'Daisy garden'purple clematisbutterflies, hummingbirdssummer
7Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow'fireglow spurgebeessummer
8Hylotelephium 'Autumn Joy'autumn joy sedumbees, flieslate summer-fall
9Lavendula angustifoliaEnglish lavenderbees, butterfliessummer
10Meconopsis cambricayellow Welsh poppybeeslate spring-fall
11Narcissus pseudonarcissusdaffodilbeesearly spring
12Schizostylis coccineacrimson flag lilybees, butterflieslate summer-winter
13Sedum kamtschaticumorange stonecropbeessummer
14Spiraea japonica 'Walbuma'magic carpet spireabutterflieslate spring- summer
15Tulipatuliphummingbirds, bees, butterfliesspring
16Vaccinium ovatumevergreen huckleberry*hummingbirds, butterfliesspring
17Verbascum 'Sugar Plum'mulleinhummingbirds, bees, butterfliesspring-summer
1Achillea millefoliumcommon yarrow*bees, beetlessummer-fall
2Allium giganteumgiant alliumbees, butterflieslate spring-summer
3Allium spaerocephalon 'Drumsticks'drumstick alliumhummingbirds, beeslate spring-summer
4Anemone nemorosawood anemonebees, hover fliesearly spring
5Aquilegia canadensis 'Pink Lanterns'columbinehummingbirds, butterflies, beesspring-early summer
6Aquilegia vulgariscolumbinehummingbirds, butterflieslate spring-early summer
7Arbutus unedo compactadwarf strawberry treehummingbirdsfall-winter
8Asclepias tuberosabutterfly weedbutterflies, hummingbirdsearly summer-fall
9Borago officinalisborage*bees, syrphid fliessummer
10Calendula officinaliscalendula, pot marigoldbutterflies, bees, hover flies, beetlesspring-fall
11Campenula rotundifoliaharebell*beessummer-fall
12Cosmos bipinnatus 'Apricot Lemon'cosmosbees, butterfliessummer-fall
13Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'George Davidson'montbretiahummingbirds, butterflieslate summer-fall
14Crocosmia x curtonus 'Lucifer'montbretiahummingbirdssummer
15Digitalis purpureacommon foxglovebees, hummingbirdsspring-early summer
16Echinops bannaticus 'Blue Glow'blue globe thistlebees, butterflies, hover fliessummer
17Fuchsia magellanica var. gracilis 'Aurea'golden leaved hardy fuchsiahummingbirds, beessummer-fall
18Geranium x Rozannegeranium Rozannebeeslate spring-fall
19Geum hybrid 'Fireball'giant avensbees, butterflies, beneficial insectsspring-fall
20Helleborus orientalislenten rosebees, flies, hummingbirdswinter-early spring
21Hemerocallis lilioasphodelusyellow daylilyhummingbirds, bees, butterflies, fliessummer
22Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple'coral bellshummingbirds, beeslate spring-early summer
23Hylotelephium 'Autumn Joy'autumn joy sedumbees, flieslate summer-fall
24Kniphofia uvariayellow-orange torch lilyhummingbirds, beetlessummer
25Lavandula angustifoliaEnglish lavenderbees, butterfliessummer
26Lobularia maritimasweet alyssum*bees, butterflies, hummingbirdsspring-late fall
27Meconopsis cambricayellow Welsh poppybeeslate spring-fall
28Milium effusum 'Aureum'golden wood millet grassspring
29Moluccella laevisbells of Irelandbeessummer
30Monarda didyma 'Jacob Cline'bee balmhummingbirds, bees, butterfliesmid-summer
31Narcissus pseudonarcissusdaffodil*beesearly spring
32Penstemon x glaxinoides 'Garnet'garnet penstemonbees, butterflies, hummingbirdssummer
33Polemonium caeruleumJacob's ladder, Greek valerianbeesspring-early summer
34PolygonatumSolomon's sealbeesspring
35Potentilla fruiticosa 'Pink Princess'potentilla*beeslate spring-fall
36Primula 'Sweetheart'pink primrosebeesspring
37Primula 'Corporal Baxter'double red primrosebeesspring
38Rudbeckia fulgidaconeflowerbeneficial insectssummer-fall
39Salvia microphyllahot lipshummingbirds, bees, butterflieslate spring-fall
40Schizostylis coccineacrimson flag lilybees, butterflieslate summer-winter
41Sedum albumwhite stonecropbeessummer
42Sedum spathulifoliumbroadleaf stonecrop*bees, butterfliesspring-summer
43Solidago rugosagoldenrodbees, butterflieslate summer-fall
44Spirea japonica 'Walbuma'magic carpet spireabutterflieslate spring-summer
45Tulipatuliphummingbirds, bees, butterfliesspring