The Best Illinois Perennials for Pollinators
There has been much discussion in the news lately about pollinators, what's happening with the bees and what may or not be the cause of their decline. In early 2017, bees finally received some protection and acknowledgment of their decline when the rusty patch bumble bee was placed on the endangered species list.
Today this variety of bumble bee is listed as being reported in our state, one of only 13.
Want to help? You can help pollinators of all varieties thrive in Illinois simply by planting varieties of plants they need for a healthy habitat. Here are some of our favorites.
Click on each plant name to learn more.
Coneflowers, or Echinacea, are sun loving perennials that come in a huge variety of sizes and colors. From magenta, to orange to green, these long lasting blooms make a great addition to any perennial garden and pollinators love them, too.
Calamint is a spreading, flowering perennial with light blue, purple flowers that resemble a perennial. Calamint can be used as a ground cover and prefers full sun. It makes a great filler for garden beds and prefers full sun.
Sedum are favorite of Illinois pollinators. There are many varieties to choose from but 'Autumn Joy' seems to be favorite for honeybees. These perennials are hardy and easy to grow. They also spread slowly and make a great filler plant for planting beds and privacy berms. Sedum also bloom in late summer and their blooms are long lasting so they make a nice transition plant in a perennial garden.
Plox is a beautiful perennial that has long lasting persistent flowers, which is exactly why perennials are so attracted to them. This perennial is a summer bloomer that comes in a variety of colors.
Butterfly Bush' The Butterfly Bush area at our garden center is one of our favorite spots because it is always full of gorgeous butterflies. However, Butterfly Bush is a great plant for honeybees too. Butterfly Bush is a popular shrub shaped perennial that is available in shades of pink, purple, white and blue.
Bee Balm Bee Balm is a great addition to any perennial garden. A taller, summer blooming perennial, it is self seeding and will spread, which makes it great for mass plantings. It is also availabe in a variety of colors including white, pink, red, and purple.
Gaillardia I love Gaillardia, also commonly refered to as "Blanket Flower" because of it is very drought tolerant, loves the sun and comes in a range of bright, sunny colors, making it appear to have a bright, happy little personality. And the pollinators agree!
Lavendar Lavender is one of our top selling perennials and for good reason. It is easy to grow and looks amazing in the lansdcape. You (and the honeybees) will enjoy the purple blooms throughout the summer.
Salvia If you can't picture Salvia, see if this triggers your memory: "spiky purple flower". Customers come in all the time describing "the purple flower with the spikes" and we immediately know they are looking for salvia. The bees will love it but the deer don't! This is a commonly used perennial in areas with lots of hungry deer.
Eupatorium This perennial is commonly known as "Joe Pye Weed". It is a larger perennial and even the dwarf varieties can reach 3 feet tall. The birds also love this perennial for its seeds.
Borage We have saved one of the best for last. Borage is an annual herb that not only looks and smells great, but you can eat it too. Plant Borage right in your vegetable gardens to add color and help pollinate your veggies!'
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