Drought-Tolerant Pollinator Plants

Try these low-maintenance perennials to attract bees and other pollinators to your garden.

| July/August 2016

Bee populations have been on the decline all around the world for the past few decades, and that’s a problem. Scientists estimate that nearly one-third of all food grown on Earth is dependent on bees. Without these important pollinators, the future of our food supply could be in trouble. Many factors contribute to bee declines, but nearly all scientists agree that loss of habitat and lack of nutrition are major factors. Fortunately, that means there is something simple every one of us can do to help: Include bee-friendly plants in our gardens. Not only will these plants feed bees, they’ll help support birds, butterflies and beneficial insects, too. Plus, these hardy, drought-tolerant perennials are nearly guaranteed to grow well with very little care, and they’ll come back year after year. To protect the health of the pollinators you’re aiming to attract, always use plants grown without pesticides.


(Aster spp., Zones 3 to 8)

If you like daisies, then you’ll love asters. They start blooming in late summer and continue through fall. They offer a great pop of color and a late source of nectar just when other flowers are starting to fade. Plant in a sunny spot.

Bee Balm

(Monarda didyma, Zones 4 to 9)

If you like uniquely shaped flowers, this is the one for you, with its bright color and spiky shape. Also known to attract hummingbirds, you can’t go wrong with a plant that already has bee in the name. Bee balm can handle some shade.

Blanket flower

(Gaillardia spp., Zones 3 to 9)

4/12/2018 1:59:29 PM

Last year, I had a lemon basil plant, that grew to gargantuan proportions. Not sure where the hive was located, but the local honey bees absolutely LOVED that plant! Every day I was out in the garden, they were there, too, and while they enjoyed many other blossoms, that lemon basil was one they just kept coming back to!

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