Kim Eierman, environmental horticulturist and founder of EcoBeneficial! recommends including some native plants that bloom in spring, summer and fall to attract bees and other pollinators. Hepatica is a tiny, low-growing plant whose white, pink or blue flowers open as early as late winter or early spring.
Spring Bloomer: False Indigo
Common to much of central and eastern North America, Baptisia australis, false indigo, can be found growing wild in open meadows, along streams and on the borders of forests. The plant produces striking flower spikes that hover over bright green foliage.
Spring Bloomer: Goat's Beard
An easy-to-grow plant with fine-textured, feathery blooms, Aruncus dioicus, goat’s beard or bride’s feathers, resembles Astilbe, but grows larger and is a perennial native to the Eastern U.S.
Spring Bloomer: Beard Tongue
Drought tolerant and deer resistant, Penstemon digitalis, bearded tongue, produces lovely white tubular flowers which stand out against its red leaves. It attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Spring Bloomer: Spiderwort
Tradescantia virginiana, spiderwort, is a clump-forming perennial which grows well in moist, acidic soil with full to partial shade. The flowers, which are violet-blue to purple, bloom from late May to early July.
Spring Bloomer: Stonecrop
Stonecrop, Sedum ternatum, is a low-growing, spreading, succulent groundcover that produces white, star-shaped flowers in the spring.
Summer Bloomer: Swamp Milkweed
A plant that does well in floodplains and wet meadows, swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) produces bright pink flowers in the summer and is a magnet for bees and butterflies.
Fall Bloomer: Aster
Native to almost every area of the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, New England aster, grows easily in gardens with full sun and good air circulation. These tall and majestic plants produce deep blue to purple blooms and can continue to flower after early frosts.
Fall Bloomer: Goldenrod
This delightful wildflower makes hillsides look like Impressionist paintings in late summer and early fall, but is maligned because it blooms at the same time as ragweed. Ragweed pollen is what mucks up your sinuses; goldenrod pollen is made to be carried by bees and butterflies, not wind.
Fall Bloomer: Gentian
Notable for their large, trumpet-shaped flowers, which are often an intense blue, soapwort gentian, Gentiana saponaria, is a hardy plant which can grow in full sun or partial shade and is popular in rock gardens.
Fall Bloomer: Mist Flower
An attractive plant which blooms in late summer to fall, mist flower spreads easily and produces clusters of blue, violet or white flowers, which can grow up to three feet in height. It prefers moist areas in zones 4 to 9. For more recommendations on native perennials that attract bees, visit EcoBeneficial!