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Twenty-five Garden Plants that Attract Pollinators in Coastal Georgia


Common name                    Type or Use

Abelia                                      Perennial Shrub

Anise Hyssop Perennial       Herb

Aster (many varieties)          Perennial Flower

Basil                                         Annual Herb

Black-eyed Susan                  Both Perennial- and Annual

Butterfly Bush                       Perennial Shrub

Calendula                               Annual Herb

Chives and Garlic                  Perennial Herb

Cosmos                                   Annual Flower

Dill and Fennel                       Annual Herb

Egyptian Starflower              Annual (Perennial in Coastal Georgia)

Goldenrod                             Perennial Flower

Impatiens                               Annual Flower

Lantana                                  Perennial Shrub in Coastal Georgia

Marigold                                Annual Flower

Mexican Sunflower              Annual Flower

Milkweed                               Perennial Flower

Mint                                        Perennial Herb

Oregano                                Perennial Herb

Petunia                                  Annual Flower

Salvia                                      Both Annual and Perennial Types

Sunflower                              Annual Flower

Thyme                                    Perennial Herb

Verbena                                 Both Perennial- and Annual

Zinnia                                     Annual Flower


The Moth Project Field Guide is now available thanks to a Student Sustainability Fee Grant from Georgia Southern University!  Click Here


In the United States, the added value to agriculture from honey bee pollination is more than $19 billion annually. In Georgia, beehives are rented to farmers to pollinate apples, blueberries, cucumbers and watermelons. Bee-pollinated forage and hay crops, such as alfalfa and clover, are used to feed the animals that supply meat and dairy products. In addition, colonies of wild honeybees can be found in most of the U.S.


Butterflies and moths are also effective pollinators. When a butterfly or moth visits a flower to eat nectar, tiny scales covering their bodies brush against the anthers and pollen sticks to the scales. When the butterfly or moth visits the next flower, the pollen stuck to its scales brushes onto that flower’s stigma. Since butterflies and moths are attractive and interesting, we often create special gardens to attract them.

The services provided by pollinators contribute to the productivity of crops as well as to the survival and reproduction of native plants. In order for pollinators to survive and flourish, they require the following things:

-Food, shelter, water;

-Living space;

-A place to reproduce undisturbed; and

-Nesting materials


Creating a Pollinator Friendly Habitat

Plant a wide variety of nectar- and pollen-rich flowers.

Choose plants with a diversity of colors, shapes and sizes. Some native pollinators are attracted to flowers of certain colors or shapes. A wide variety of colors and shapes will attract more pollinators and encourage them to make your garden their home. Planting large groups of flowers of the same color or kind together attracts pollinators much better than single, individual flowers scattered through the garden.


Use local native plants when possible.

Native plants and native pollinators go together. The pollinators need the plants for their preferred food, nesting or egg-laying sites. In fact, certain pollinators cannot survive without a specific native plant that they or their young feed on.


Include a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the season.

In early spring, food may be scarce for native pollinators. Provide some plants that bloom in the early spring, some that bloom in the summer and others that bloom into the late fall. This will allow many different pollinators to find something they need in your garden throughout the growing season. The flowers of certain trees, shrubs, vines, and annual and perennial flowers attract native pollinators. When planning a pollinators’ garden, include a variety of annual flowers, annual and perennial herbs and perennial shrubs.


Provide food sources and over-wintering places for eggs and larva.

Adult pollinators usually prefer to feed on nectar, but the young larvae may eat leaves. For example, adult monarch butterflies feed on many plants that provide abundant nectar, but monarch butterfly caterpillars only eat plants in the milkweed family, such as Asclepius tuberosa, or butterfly weed. To have this type of butterfly in your garden, you should plant milkweeds for the larvae.


Provide water.

Pollinators sip at shallow pools, mud puddles, shallow bird baths and saucers filled with water. Adult male butterflies will gather to suck mineral salts from the mud puddles. Bees and wasps will use the mud as building material. Insects need only shallow water so a deep birdbath or pool is not as useful.


Avoid using pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.

Your pollinators’ garden should be a pesticide-free space since many pesticides will kill them. Herbicides that eliminate weeds will also eliminate many food sources, hiding places and nesting places for native pollinators. The pollinators’ garden is a good place to let the garden go wild.


Provide sites and materials for nesting and over-wintering.

Leave twigs and brush in small piles and leave tall plant stems uncut. Put out pieces of string or other light fibers to provide nesting material. Turn a cracked or broken clay flowerpot upside down to provide a winter home. Place a log, stump or large tree branch in the garden as a place for native pollinators to hide, and as a place for butterflies to perch in the sun. Build a rock pile or wall or make a pile of limbs for a hiding or resting place. A good pollinator’s garden may look messy to some, but to pollinators, it looks like home.

The Pollinator Project in Georgia

Why Pollinators

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