​Top 10 Pollinator Plants Picks for Summer Blooms in the Perennial Garden

​Top 10 Pollinator Plants Picks for Summer Blooms in the Perennial Garden

Posted by Jessie Jacobson on Jun 25th 2021

Happy National Pollinator Week!

The time is now to plants plants for pollinators. Tonkadale is overflowing with mid-summer color and late summer bloomers to attract your favorite pollinator friends to the garden this summer.

Hot Tips

  • Plant in large swaths of repetitive color and variety to guide pollinators into the garden
  • Plant an assortment of both native and cultivated perennials
  • Consider early, mid, and late summer bloom times, continuous blooms mean continuous visitors
  • Avoid using pesticides, both organic and conventional, unless absolutely necessary
  • Vary flower shapes and size to attract a wide range of foragers

Hot Plants

Achillea ‘Vintage White


  • Full Sun
  • 18” tall, 12” wide
  • Zone 4-9

The Yarrows are among the best perennials for planting in sunny, hot, and dry locations. providing good color throughout the summer months. Vintage white produces pure white flower clusters over compact, ferny, green foliage and blooms from mid to late summer. Excellent for cut flower arrangements both fresh and dried. Deadhead faded flowers regularly to promote continued blooming. Achillea do spread, so give them space. Easily divided in fall or early spring. Trim back hard after the first flush of bloom, to maintain a compact habit. Salt tolerant and deer resistant

Allium hybrid ‘Windy City’


  • Full Sun
  • 15-17” tall and wide
  • Zone 4-9

Thin dark-green leaves provide a dramatic backdrop for lavender-purple flower clusters atop strong, dark stems. Spent flowers persist for winter interest but are near-sterile so set very little seed. Windy Cite is a compact variety great for small spaces. Gorgeous as a cut flower – cut or dried. Deer resistant.

Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Weed

  • Full Sun
  • 2’-3’ tall and wide
  • Zone 4-9

Butterfly weed is a larval host plant for Monarch butterflies. Though not their first choice, unlike milkweed, this hard variety tolerates dry conditions. This hardy, free-flowering, and well-behaved variety features bright orange flowers throughout summer. Tolerant of lean, unimproved soils. Ideal for naturalized areas, meadows, and borders.

Echinacea ‘Kismet Yellow’


  • Full Sun
  • Zone 4-9
  • 18” tall, 24” wide

This naturally short, easy-care perennial boasts tremendous deep-yellow flower power. Blooms earlier than most and continues blooming all the way until first frost. Perfect for the front of sunny borders and meadow gardens. Flower heads are the perfect landing pad for bees and butterflies. Seed pods create winter interest and a food source for songbirds.

Eupatorium ‘Phantom’

Joe Pye Weed

  • Full Sun
  • 36”-48” tall
  • Zone 4-8

Dome-shaped heads of small lavender flowers clusters cover this upright, clump forming perennial in mid-summer to early fall. Provides spectacular flowering and vertical interest when massed at the back of the perennial border. A good addition to meadows, native plant gardens, and naturalized areas. Vanilla scented flowers attract butterflies. Deer resistant

Monarda ‘Grand Parade’

Bee Balm

  • Full Sun
  • 2’ tall, 2’ wide
  • Zone 3-8

This monarda produces a profusion of lavender-purple flowers atop mid-sized, very compact, upright plants from mid through late summer. This cultivar exhibits very good powdery mildew resistance. Bee balm is easy to grow, and it multiplies quickly. The sweet nectar of the flowers attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees to the garden. The aromatic foliage smells like mint when crushed and is often used to flavor teas. Deer resistant.

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Goldstrum’

Black-eyed Susan

  • Full Sun
  • 2’ tall, 2’ wide
  • Zone 3-9

A traditional and fuss-free garden standard that blooms later summer into the fall. An amazing addition to cut flower arrangements. Daisy-like, golden yellow flowers with black centers cover dark green foliage. Tolerates heat, humidity, and clay soil. Seed heads create winter interest and are a food source for songbirds. Salt tolerant and deer resistant.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Cardonna’

Meadow Sage

Full Sun

3’ tall, 2’ wide

Zone 4-9

Spikes of violet-blue flowers on striking purple-black stems rise above the contrasting gray-green leaves. Especially effective in mass. After the first flush of blooms, but back spent flower spikes to encourage a second flush of blooms. Use fresh or dried cut flower in arrangements. Deer resistant.

Sedum ‘Sun Sparkler Lime Zinger’

Full Sun

6” tall, 24” wide

Zone 4-9

A hardy succulent groundcover, with fantastic lime green leaves edged in bright cherry red. In late summer, soft pink flower clusters dance just above the foliage. This colorful, drought resistant, salt tolerant perennial is attractive to pollinators and is also deer resistant.

Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Blue Stem’

Little Blue Stem

Full Sun


18-24” tall

An ornamental bunchgrass with fine-textured foliage that forms very dense mounds. Slender blue-green stems reach 3 feet by September, and become radiant mahogany-red with white, shining seed tufts in the fall. Most striking is this grasses’ reddish-tan color in fall, persisting through winter snows. The seeds, fuzzy white at maturity, are of particular value to small birds in winter. Provides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees. Deer resistant.

Plant these varieties in groups of three or five for greatest impact. Enjoy mid to late season color ranging from whites, yellow, and purple with pops of greenish-blue foliage color. When your planting this summer make sure to amend your soil with planting mix and water newly planted perennials well. Your effort now will reap great reward year after year for both you and your pollinator friends.

Happy planting and we will see you at Tonkadale!