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Minnesota Native Plants for Pollinators

Bumblebee on Agastache

Interested in gardening for pollinators? Plant some Minnesota native plants! Though many of our favorite introduced landscape plants are attractive to pollinators, native plants are considered the gold standard to support endangered species like our Minnesota state bee, the rusty-patched bumblebee. 

Getting Started with Natives

If you’re the go big or go home type, establish a whole new native bed. Try to plant a diversity of species to attract a wide variety of pollinators to your garden and enjoy a slice of Minnesota wildness up close.

Make sure to choose plants that bloom in spring, summer, and fall so that you provide food throughout the season. Don’t forget host plants like milkweeds (Asclepias spp.), dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), and button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).

fall garden tasks

You don’t have to start from scratch to get Minnesota natives into your yard. Incorporating them can be as easy as planting some monarch magnet meadow blazing star (Liatris ligulistylis) here and a few rusty patched bumblebee super food purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea) there.

What about milkweed? Try adding some showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa). This milkweed is less aggressive than common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and lives up to its name with incredibly showy, unique flowers. If orange is your thing (and how could it not be?), butterfly flower (Asclepias tuberosa) is super vibrant and well behaved in terms of spreading.

Many natives are just as useful in a home flower garden as they are in a meadow, and many are extremely low maintenance once established. Damage on these plants is often caused by the intended guest (butterflies and moths), so gardeners need to have a tolerance for holey leaves and let the babies eat undisturbed by chemicals.

We have a selection of Minnesota natives and native cultivars that we know will get your garden abuzz with activity. Come take a look!

More resources:

Here’s a list of plants recommended by U.S. Fish and Wildlife for the rusty-patched bumblebee.

Check out Minnesota DNR resources on how to landscape with natives.