The Northeast Earth Coalition

Gardening for Pollinators: Resources and Plant List

By David Wasmuth

June 27, 2020


“Nature’s Best Hope” by Douglas Tallamy

“The Living Landscape” by Rick Darke and Douglas Tallamy

“Bringing Nature Home” by Douglas Tallamy

Douglas Tallamy has been an inspiring pioneer in recognizing the interdependence between native plants, insects and birds. His books feature excellent plant lists as well as practical landscaping advice.

Online information sources

The National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society both offer lists of recommended native plants to support wildlife.  The NWF site is focused on pollinators while the Audubon site is focused more on birds. For each, you can enter your zip code to generate a list of plants best suited to your locale.

Plants mentioned in the presentation

(* indicates medium to high deer resistance, but nothing is 100% deer resistant)

Spring ephemerals:

Spring beauties (Claytonia virginica)

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

Spring flowers/Summer ground covers:

Violets (Viola spp.)*

Golden groundsel/ragwort (Packera aurea)*

Creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera)*

Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)*

Alumroot/Coralbells (Heuchera spp.)*

Eastern columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)*

Early spring flowering trees/shrubs:

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)

Juneberry/serviceberry/shadbush (Amelanchier spp.)*

Late spring flowering shrubs:

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum prolificum)*

Native viburnums – Arrowwood*, native cranberry bush*, nannyberry, mapleleaf (Viburnum spp.)


Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)*

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)*

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)*

Summer perennials:

Beebalm (Monarda didyma)*

Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)*

Hyssop (Agastache spp.)*

Blazing star/gay feather (Liatris spp.)*

Joe Pye (Eupatorium maculatum)*

Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)*

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)*

Fall perennials:

Showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)*

New England aster (Aster novae-angliae)*

Blue aster (Aster azureus)*

Blue wood aster (Aster cordifolius)*

Buying Native Plants

Check with your local nurseries. Many now carry native plant lines. Be careful that you are actually buying a native, not an introduced species with a similar name.

Several online sources specialize in native plants. Here are a few. Since these serve wide areas, check to make sure the plants you order are native to your region.

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