Gardeners are inherently nurturers. We find satisfaction in giving butterflies and birds homes in our gardens and watching them thrive with the nectar we provide. From large spaces to small, all gardens make a difference in helping the pollinator population. Welcoming pollinators is an imperative step to creating a sustainable environment.
In order to attract pollinators, we need to plant flowers! Annuals are a great way to grow vivid colors all summer long. Bedding annuals are planted in the ground typically as a border to foundation plantings. They could also be mixed in with other perennials to add color between perennial blooms. Container plantings are a great way to attract pollinators to small patio spaces or window boxes. Whatever your style is, there is a flower to reflect that and a gardening strategy that meets your level of maintenance.
Lantana, snap dragons, and zinnia are all spectacularly bright annuals that will attract pollinators “from a mile away”. They make great border plantings as most varieties stay relatively short. For a more traditional look, petunias come in a variety of colors from white to hot pink. I’m sure everyone and their mother has heard of petunias. Well, Proven Winners grow spectacular Supertunias and Vista varieties that thrive in full sun without the need of dead heading. They are a great low-growing border plant that creates a carpeting effect of lush stunning flowers. Monochromatic plantings are the most impactful aesthetically with this type of planting. The tubular/ trumpet-shaped flower allows pollinators and humming birds to feed and multiply. Note that double petaled flowers do not allow pollinators to get to their nectar even thought they look adorable.
Annuals to Pop in with Perennials
Salvia is great annual with many varieties and sizes to choose from and a stand out addition to a perennial garden that is short bloomed. Maybe your perennials bloom in the spring and look boring by summer or they don’t end up blooming until mid-summer but you are eager to see some color, these suggestions are for you. Dahlia grow large 3-5” flowers and grow to about 3 feet tall in a wide variety of colors. Canna is a tall annual that has a more tropical look and can be mixed well with tall grasses. You can dig up the bulbs and over-winter them for the next summer.
Verbena makes an excellent container planting for their filler and spiller qualities. Their colors range from white to pink to purple to red and mix well with some of the bedding annual suggestions. The annuals that you can mix into your garden also make great thrillers or center pieces to your arrangements. Other great thrillers include Angelonia, argyranthemum, gomphrena, helianthus. For smaller containers, pentas, new guinea impatiens and calibrachoas are great planted in a monochromatic container arrangement or mixed with other plants. The arrangement options are endless, just be sure to take into account the amount of light they will receive and the soil type they require for best results.
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