The Best Nectar Plants for Pollinators

flock of purple nectar flowers

Create a pollinator-friendly garden by choosing at least three nectar plants that will bloom throughout as many seasons as possible. Single-petal flowers are easiest for bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators to reach. Double-petal varieties are showier, but offer less nectar and accessible pollen. Try these nectar-rich flowers to keep hummingbirds, bees and other pollinators coming to your yard.

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Torch Lily

tall orange nectar flower in garden

Torch lilies (Kniphofia spp.) add unique texture and color to the garden, and also provide food for pollinators. This flowering perennial—also known as red-hot poker—produces nectar throughout the hottest days of summer. Exceptionally easy to grow, with a wide hardiness range, red hot poker is a great addition to any full-sun planting spot.

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Bee Balm

bright red nectar flowers

A magnet for pollinators, this fragrant perennial blooms from early to late summer. Bee balm (Monarda spp.) is low maintenance and deer resistant. Snip off spent flowers to encourage reblooming.

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tall purple nectar flowers
Randall Schieber

Lavender (Lavandula spp.) attracts all sorts of pollinators, but honeybees have a special affinity for the fragrant herb's nectar and pollen. Plant lavender in large patches for a romantic, delicate look. This classic garden plant also helps with erosion control, making it a great choice for sloped beds.

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Spider Flower

pink nectar flower ball

Try spider flower (Cleome hassleriana) for a dramatic burst of color. Ever-reliable, this annual blooms in full sun to part shade. Remove spent flowers before seedpods form, or let the plants self-sow.

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small red nectar flowers with many leaves

A large group of perennial salvias (Salvia spp.) will attract bees galore. Faithfully deadheading plants prompts more flowering. This tall garden plant is drought tolerant and adds lovely fragrance to the garden.

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moth resting on purple nectar flowers

Catmint's (Nepeta spp.) show of blooms tends to reach its peak color just as most of the spring bulbs are finishing, but before many of your summer perennials begin to bloom, easily filling in some color during that seasonal transition. This tough perennial herb excels in hot, dry weather. Plant it in full sun and well-draining soil at the garden's edge.

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small white red nectar flowers

Beardtongue (Penstemon spp.) is a gorgeous native plant that gives pollinators the nectar they're looking for. The tubular flowers come in a variety of colors and bloom at various times. Penstemons attract hummingbirds in particular.

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red and white nectar flowers

An ideal plant for hanging baskets, wall pots, and other containers in shaded locations, fuschia (Fuschia spp.) blooms feature two layers of petals—often in different colors—and long stamens. Tender and hardy varieties prove spectacular.

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Anise Hyssop

purple nectar flower with bee nearby

This upright perennial herb grows easily from seeds or seedlings in Zones 4–10 and self-sows freely. Anise hyssop (Agastache foenicullum) is heat- and drought-tolerant, and attract birds. Its scent marries licorice and mint.

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flock of purple nectar flowers

Thyme (Thymus spp.) is a go-to option for attracting pollinators. This large group of herbs includes groundcovers and upright plants. Harvesting thyme throughout the growing season promotes new growth.

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