Pollinator Friendly Annuals

Pollinator Friendly Annuals

Q: Our home landscape is still in the planning stage, but I’d like to create a temporary pollinator garden. Are there annuals that will attract pollinators?

A: Annuals can definitely be used to attract pollinators to your yard. The following table lists a baker’s dozen of annuals suitable for the Chicago region. All are attractive to bees and half also attract butterflies. As a bonus, if the flower heads of cosmos, marigolds, and sunflowers are allowed to go to seed, they will attract wild birds as well.

All of these species can be grown from seed, and many are available as bedding plants at local garden centers.

Common Name

Latin Name

Light Needs*

Height

Bloom Period

ageratum
Ageratum houstonianum
FS, PS
6” – 12”
Midsummer to Fall
garden balsam
Impatiens balsamina
FS, PS, S
8” – 36”
Summer to Fall
cleome
Cleome hassleriana
FS, PS
36” – 48”
Summer to frost
cosmos
Cosmos bipinnatus
FS
36” – 72”
Summer to frost
lantana
Lantana montevidensis
FS
12” – 18”
Summer to frost
marigold
Tagetes sp.
FS
10” – 36”
Early Summer to frost
mignonette
Reseda odorata
FS, PS
12” – 15”
Summer to fall
nicotiana
Nicotiana alata
FS, PS
12” – 24”
Late spring to early summer
pincushion flower
Scabiosa atropurpurea
FS
12” – 36”
Early summer to frost
snapdragon
Antirrhinum majus
FS, PS
6” – 48”
Early summer to fall
sunflower
Helianthus annuus
FS
24” – 120”
Summer
sweet alyssum
Lobularia maritima
FS, PS
4” – 8”
Late spring to frost
verbena
Verbena x hybrida
FS
12”
Summer

*Light needs key:

FS: full sun
PS: part shade
S: shade


Please email plantinfo@chicagobotanic.org with additional questions.