June 18, 2018

By Jack Perryman, External Relations Extern

This year, celebrate National Pollinator Week all summer long by planting native species that will bring pollinators to your garden. This will make it prettier and healthier, and help Missouri's pollinators at the same time. Native species are healthier for our pollinators and grow better in our intense Missouri summer heat than non-native species! They also require less watering, less upkeep and will bloom longer. Here are five species that you can plant to attract native pollinators to your garden:

Milkweed
Milkweed is essential for monarch butterflies as it is the only plant that the insect can eat during its caterpillar stage. However, milkweed flowers, which bloom in mid to late summer, will provide nectar for many pollinators, including bees, monarch butterflies and ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Purple coneflowers
This native ornamental species is not only beautiful, it is perfect for all pollinators. The flower is long blooming, so it will add color to your garden all summer long.

Joe Pye weed and Spotted Joe Pye weed
These two wildflowers bloom from mid to late summer. The flowers last about a month and are highly attractive to pollinators. This is a rugged plant that does not require too much gardening and is quite beautiful.

Aster
These beautiful, late-summer blooms are very important for monarchs because they provide food for their journey back to their winter home in Michoacán, Mexico.

Wild Bergamot
This native plant blooms for about a month and is very attractive to bees! They are often called Bee Balm because of their attractiveness to bees.

Planting any one of these species will help to keep Missouri's pollinator populations healthy this summer. For the adventurous, plant all five of these plants to create your own native pollinator garden and watch the bees, butterflies, and birds come all summer long!

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