top of page

Plants for Pollinators

Author: Kevin Jinn, 2018

Native Pollinators

Pollinators are the organisms that aid flowers in sexual propagation. They include insects, moths, and even bats in some places. Many of our crops such as blueberries rely on honeybees for an ample crop, and new programs using native pollinators such as mason bees are also in production. This pollination service is undertaken by these willing creatures in exchange for the high caloric nectar or pollen produced by the flowers.

Plantings that provide food or shelter for pollinators will bring them to your home. Always try to use native species as much as possible - they provide the most value and are much more likely to be used by our native pollinators.

Nectar Sources - Flowers

Pearly Everlasting - Anaphalis margaritacea Aster species - Aster chilensis, A. subspicatum Red Columbine - Aquilegia formosa Camas spp.- Camassia quamash, C. leitchtlinii Paintbrush - Catillejia hispidula, C. miniata Fireweed - Epilobium angustifolium Strawberry spp. - Fragaria chiloensis, F. vesca Coral bells - Heuchera micrantha Farewell-to-spring - Clarkia amoena Blanketflower - Gaillardia aristata Menzie's Delphinium - Delphinium menziesii Nodding Onion - Allium cerrnuum Lupin - Lupinus polyphyllus Paintbrush - Catillejia hispidula, C. miniata. Penstemon - Penstemon spp. Spreading phlox - Phlox diffusa. Goatsbeard - Aruncus diocusa Goldenrod - Solidago lepida Henderson's checkermallow - Sidelcea hendersonii Monkeyflower - Mimulus guttatus, M. lewisii Sedum spp. - Sedum spathulifolium, S. oreganum, S. lanceolatum Violet spp. - Viola adunca, V. glabella, V. praemorsa Western Yarrow - Achillea millifolium Wooly Sunflower. - Eriophyllum lanatum

Remember to choose flowers with many flower heads and numerous small florets, such as Yarrow and Wooly Sunflower. Many pollinators, including butterflies, can perch on these flowers and drink the sweet nectar. Also include late season bloomers such as Aster and Goldenrod, to ensure something is in bloom in every season.

Nectar Sources - Trees and Shrubs

Although they can be overlooked because they are largely used as frames for the garden design, trees and shrubs can bring in native pollinators quickly. Because of their larger size, many creatures can use them for habitat. Also, they can often produce much more nectar for pollinators than say, a lone flower could on a garden plant. It is not common to think that there are no pollinators around, when all you have is to look up and find your flowering tree abuuz with bees and other good pollinators above.

Vine Mape - Acer circinatum Bittercherry - Prunus emarginata Chokecherry - Prunus virginiana Black Hawthorne - Crataegus douglasii Pacific crabapple- Malus fusca Arctostaphylos - (Manzanita, Kinnikinnik) Oregon Grape - Mahonia aquilifolium, M. nervosa Mock Orange - Philadelphus lewisii Currants - Ribes sanguineum Rhododendrons - Rhododendron macrophyllum, R. occidentale Rubus spp. (Salmonberry, Thimbleberry) - Rubus spectabilis, R. parviflorus Elderberry - Sambucus cerulea, S. racemosa Spirea - Spirea douglasii Vaccinium species (huckleberry) - Vaccinium ovatum, V. ovalifolium, V. alaskense Willows - Salix spp.

Butterflies and their Larval Food Plants

In order to really help butterfly populations in B.C., we need to provide plants that provide food for the larval stages. Many species will only accept one or a few species of plants at this stage. If a butterfly is found near your area, you can probably increase its population by planting the correct foodplants for the caterpillars. And of course, stay away from pesticides and insecticide!


​ Native Food Plant the Caterpillar Needs


Milkweed (A. speciosa in our region)

Propertius Duskywing

Garry Oak

Two-banded Checkered Skipper

Strawberry spp., Silverweed

Woodland Skipper

Native Grasses

Clodius Apollo (*possibly no longer present)

Western Bleeding Heart

Anise Swallowtail

Carrot Family

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Alders, Willows, Poplars, Maples (Vine, Big Leaf Maple)

​Pine White

Douglas Fir

Sara Orangetip

Mustard spp.

Cedar Hairstreak

Western Red Cedar

Brown Elfin

Arctostaphylos, Arbutus, Salal, Oregon Grape, Huckleberry

Moss' Elfin


Western Spring Azure

Oceanspray, Dogwood, Hardhack

Satyr Anglewing

Stinging Nettle

Mourning Cloak

Willows, Poplars, Spirea

Milbert's Tortoiseshell

Stinging Nettle

Painted Lady


Westcoast Lady

Stinging Nettle

Red Admiral

Stinging Nettle

Myiltta Crescent


Lorquin's Admiral

Oceanspray, Serviceberry

Common Ringlet

Native Grasses

Common Woodnymph

Native Grasses


The City of Saanich. Retrieved from



Continue reading:

19 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Plants for Songbirds

Author: Kevin Jinn, 2018 Try these Food Plants for Songbirds! The following native plants are a good source of food for fruit-eating birds, ranging from American Robins, Varied Thrushes, and Cedar Wax

Plants for Hummingbirds

Author: Kevin Jinn, 2018 Native Hummingbirds There are two species of Hummingbirds native to B.C. Anna's hummingbirds (Calypte anna) may stay here all year, while the smaller Rufous hummingbirds (Sela

Why Native Plants?

Why Do We Want Native Plants - The Simple Answer To preserve and enjoy a part of the natural world in our own backyards As the world gets more developed, we lose many species of plants, birds, insects


bottom of page