Planters for Pollinators

Bring birds and butterflies right to your window!

pollinator plants in planterCosmos with petunia, calibrachoa and sweet potato vine create a container with height and width. Cosmos attracts birds and butterflies, including the monarch butterfly. Señorita Rosalita cleome, Wendy's Wish salvia, Magellan zinnia, Bubble Gum petunia and Kent Beauty oregano. Ornamental oregano, such as Kent Beauty, is more attractive to butterflies than culinary varieties. A yellow lantana variety, Cameron, is a popular container plant that attracts butterflies. The other plants are croton, cuphea and petunia. Cuphea ignea, also known as the cigar plant, is shown here with licorice vine. The tubular shape of the cuphea flower is popular with hummingbirds. A good combination for a shady site: impatiens, fuchsia, rex begonia and streptocarpus. Fuchsias attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.

Photos: Courtesy of Melinda Myers LLC

When you think about what to plant in your planters and windowboxes, consider making a few containers that are designed to attract birds and butterflies. The compositions in the slideshow, above, are sure to inspire you.

Look for plants with flat daisy-like flowers, which attract butterflies. Pentas are a long-blooming butterfly favorite. Other good options include zinnias, single marigolds, cosmos and osteospermums.

For hummingbirds, include some plants with tubular flowers. Nicotiana adds fragrance to the evening garden and nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds. Other good choices: nasturtium, salvia, cuphea, fuchsia, verbena, petunia and calibrachoa.

Don't forget about the hungry caterpillars that will soon turn into beautiful butterflies. Parsley, bronze fennel and licorice vines are a few favorites that make great additions to container gardens.

You can even create containers that will attract seed-eating birds. Purple Majesty millet makes an excellent vertical accent and the birds love the seeds. Cosmos, coreopsis, and rudbeckias will keep many of the birds returning to your landscape.

If your site is shady, choose fuchsias and begonias, which are great for the shade and favorites of hummingbirds. Use ferns for texture and added appeal.

Now relax and enjoy your handiwork and the wildlife it attracts.

Last updated: 03/18/2024