Planting for Pollinators in the Mid-Atlantic: Let’s Save The Bees And All Of Their Friends

Bee - Apis mellifera - pollinates a blossom of the orange coneflower - Rudbeckia fulgida

Everyone talks about saving our bees, and we should! But did you know honeybees only make up a small percentage of pollinators are essential to our ecosystem?

In the Maryland, Delaware and DC region alone there are over 40 distinct species of bees. And let’s not forget bats, birds, butterflies, and other beneficial critters we depend on for pollination. What can we do to help them?

The human race can’t survive without pollinators of all kinds. Pollinators make the world go round, make our food crops more robust and our flowers more beautiful. But did you know some flowers are more beneficial for them than others? It’s true, and here are some other things you should know:

Three Tips for Mid-Atlantic Gardeners

  1. Some non-native plants don’t do anything for local pollinators. From being sterile, the wrong shape or color, or just blooming at the wrong time of year, those beautiful flowers may just end up driving your native pollinators away – the opposite of what you want!
  2. In addition to unintentionally choosing non-native plants for our gardens, another common mistake is to overlook bloom times. If you’re planting just for appearances, you could wind up with a lot of beautiful flowers in June, and none in July. Besides leading to dead spots in the garden, there may also be stretches of time when nothing is flowering at all. This is not good news for your eyes, or for hungry pollinators. Choose plants that bloom in succession, and make sure you’re planting for all four seasons – winter is important for hungry animals, too.
  3. There are 4 elements to successful and sustainable habitat. Nectary and food source for both adults and larva. Shelter and a place to dive into to evade a predator. A nursery, or a place for breeding and a safe host for eggs. And finally, water -- best to have a shallow source that can be easily accessed.

Finding the Perfect Plants for Pollinators

If you want to support native pollinators, and have a beautiful garden (yes, both are possible!) it’s important to plant the right flowers that bloom at the right time. Here are some ideal options for the coming months in the Mid-Atlantic region:



White Gayfeather

Phlox Sub 'Emerald Blue'



Black-Eyed Susan

Woodland Sage



Calamagrostis 'Karl Forester' 


Save the Pollinators with Homestead Gardens

The Mid-Atlantic's premier independent garden center, Homestead Gardens, is just as committed to pollinators as you are! Entire sections of their stores feature Native Habitats, “Pollinator Cafes,” and areas dedicated to pollinator plants for Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, DC regions.

If your goal is to provide food for your beloved pollinators all season long, check out Homestead Gardens’ Pollinator Palettes - monthly groups of plants specifically tailored toward native pollinators for that specific month, just like the ones listed above. Join Homestead’s Pollinator Club for 20% off all the plants in the Pollinator Palette series.

What are you waiting for? Start planting to help your fabulous native pollinators today! They will appreciate it, and so will the planet.

The above article was sponsored by Homestead Gardens. The information contained in this article may contain ads or advertorial opinions.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.