Great Pollinator Plants for Iowa
Attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to your garden
Pollinators are nearly as important as sun, soil and water in both flowering plant reproduction and in the production of most fruits and vegetables. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, about 80% of all flowering plants and over three-quarters of the staple crop plants that feed humankind, rely on animal pollinators. Primary animal pollinators include ants, bees, beetles, butterflies, flies, birds, hummingbirds and moths. Pollinator populations are, however, on the decline for various reasons including habitat loss, introduction and spread of invasive plant species, misuse of pesticides and disease. Providing wildflower-rich habitat is the most significant action you can take to support these important pollinators.
What You Can Do for Pollinators:
- Grow native flowering plants - Adapted to local soils and climates, native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees are usually the best sources of nectar and pollen for native pollinators. Most native plants require little irrigation, bloom without fertilizers, and are unlikely to become weedy.
- Plant in the sun - Your pollinator-friendly plants should receive full sun throughout most of the day. Butterfly adults generally feed only in the sun.
- Provide long-lasting blooms - Sustain pollinators throughout the seasons. Plant a variety of plants that flower at different times providing nectar and pollen sources throughout the growing season.
- Plant in groups - Clumps of flowering plants will attract more pollinators than single plants scattered in the landscape.
- No insecticides - Insecticides have the potential to poison or kill pollinators.
Here is a list of Iowa native plants that are very attractive to pollinators and are well-suited for plantings in gardens.
By USFWS Midwest Region, Flickr
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.