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 Name Cultivar    Common Name Pollinators Bloom Time
1 Achillea millefolium Common Yarrow beneficial insects summer-early fall
2 Allium sphaerocephalon Drumsticks Purple Allium bees, butterflies summer
3 Alyssum wulfenianum Golden Spring Alyssum butterflies early spring
4 Antirrhinum majus Sonnet Mix Snapdragon bees late spring-fall
5 Aquilegia skinneri Tequila Sunrise Columbine hummingbirds, butterflies spring-early summer
6 Arbutus unedo compacta Dwarf Strawberry tree hummingbirds fall-winter
7 Astilbe chinensis  Maggie Daley Maggie Daley False Spirea bees, butterflies, moths, flies summer
8 Borago officinalis Borage bees, syrphidflies summer-fall
9 Calendula officinalis Calendula or Pot Marigold butterflies spring-fall
10 Carex buchananii Leatherleaf sedge butterflies spring-fall
11 Crocosmia  crocosmiiflora Monbretia hummingbirds late spring-early summer
12 Crocosmia  crocosmiiflora Emily McKenzie hummingbirds,butterfiles late summer-fall
13 Digitalis purpurea Foxglove hummingbirds, bees spsring-summer
14 Fagus sylvatica Purpurea European Beech tree spring
15 Fuchsia magellanica var. gracilis Aurea Golden leaved Hardy Fuchsia hummingbirds, bees early summer-fall
16 Geranium sanguineum Cranesbill geranium bees late spring-fall
17 Gerbera jamesonii Daisy butterflies, bees summer-fall
18 Geum hybrid Fireball Giant avens butterflies summer-fall
19 Hakonechloa macra Sunflare Blades of Glory Japanese forest grass spring
20 Helleborus orientalis Lenten Rose bees, flies, hummingbirds winter-early spring
21 Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus Daylily, yellow hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, flies summer
22 Hemerocallis fulva Daylily, orange hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, flies summer
23 Hemerocallis Frosty Beauty Daylily, apricot hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, flies summer
24 Heuchera micrantha Palace Purple Coral bells hummingbirds late spring-early summer
25 Hylotelephium telephium Dazzleberry Stonecrop hummingbirds late summer-fall
26 Hylotelephium spectabile Autumn Joy Stonecrop butterflies late summer-fall
27 Iris Blue iris hummingbirds late spring- early summer
28 Kniphofia uvaria Torch lily,yellow orange hummingbirds, beetles late spring-early summer
29 Lavendula angustifolia English Lavender bees, butterflies summer
30 Lithodora diffusa Gold 'N Sapphires Sapphires Rock Seed butterflies spring-summer
31 Lobularia maritima Sweet alyssum bees, butterflies, hummingbirds spring-late fall
32 Meconopsis cambrica Welsh poppy, yellow bees late spring-fall
33 Narcissus pseudonarcissus Daffodils bees early spring
34 Nigella damascena Love in the Mist bees spring
35 Origanum vulgare Aureum Golden oregano butterflies, bees summer-fall
36 Papaver orientale Oriental poppy late spring- early summer
37 Petrosedum rupestre  Angelina Jenny's stonecrop bees spring-summer
38 Perovskia atriplicafolia Russian sage bees, butterflies late spring-summer
39 Phlomis fruticosa Shrubby Jerusalem sage hummingbirds, bees spring-summer
40 Physocarpus opulifolius  Seward Summer Wine Ninebark butterflies, bees late spring-early summer
41 Polygonatum  Solomon's Seal bees spring
42 Primula Sweetheart Primrose, pink bees spring
43 Primula Corporal Baxter Primrose, double red bees spring
44 Salvia microphylla Hot Lips hummingbirds, bees, butterflies late spring-summer
45 Schizostylis coccinea Crimson Flag Lily bees late summer-fall
46 Sedum kamtschaticum Stonecrop bees summer
47 Sedum reflexum Blue Stonecrop Jenny's Stonecrop bees summer
48 Solidago rugosa Goldenrod bees late summer-fall
49 Spirea Japonica  Walbuma Magic Carpet Spirea butterflies mid-late summer
50 Tulipa Tulips hummingbirds, bees, butterflies spring