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Thu, Jan. 23

A dozen pollinator-friendly flowers

Echinacea PowWow Wild Berry is a perennial that provides continual bloom without deadheading or grooming. (All-America Selections/Courtesy)

Echinacea PowWow Wild Berry is a perennial that provides continual bloom without deadheading or grooming. (All-America Selections/Courtesy)

Fill your garden with colorful annuals that you and the pollinators can enjoy all season long.

Varieties from All-America Selections (AAS), a non-profit plant- trialing organization, can brighten your garden, attract pollinators.

Attract hummingbirds and second looks from passersby with the vibrant, bright-orange flowers of Canna South Pacific. This compact variety can be started from seed and was selected as a 2018 AAS winner for its vigorous, full and uniform growth habit.

Whether it’s spikes of lavender, pink, white or red your garden and container need, you’ll find them in the Salvia Jewel series. Watch butterflies and hummingbirds stop by for a sip of nectar and see finches feast upon the seeds later in the season.

Add more vertical interest and pollinator appeal in the garden and large planters with Asian Garden Celosia. The bright-pink blooms hold their color all season long atop sturdy stems, 31 to 40 inches tall. 

Include a few Cupheas, also known as Mexican Heather, in containers, borders and mass plantings. Try FloriGlory Diana for plentiful, large blooms in an intense shade of magenta.

Incorporate beauty even in challenging locations with EnduraScape Pink


The Salvia Summer Jewel — from All-America Selections, a non-profit plant- trialing organization — is pictured in lavender. The flower attracts a range of pollinators, including bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, and Goldfinches enjoy these flower seeds in the fall. (All-America Selections/Courtesy)

Bicolor Verbena. As the name implies, it is hardy, tolerating drought, heat and temperatures in the low teens, too. Use this spreader in large containers and baskets where you can appreciate the soft- pink blooms with their darker center.

Lure pollinators to your garden and containers with Vinca Mega Bloom Orchid Halo. The bright- purple blooms with a white eye stand up to heat and humidity without succumbing to disease.

Grow winning varieties of a traditional favorite, zinnia. These low-maintenance, sun-loving annuals can be started from seed directly in the garden. Add vibrant color to the garden with Queeny Lime, Zowie! Yellow Flame and Magellan Coral. Include a smaller-scale beauty with Profusion and Zahara zinnia varieties.

Gardeners and pollinators love purple coneflowers (Echinacea). Two colorful varieties, Cheyenne Spirit and PowWow Wild Berry, will fill your garden with color for seasons to come.

Cheyenne Spirit coneflower produces a mix of purple, pink, red and orange flowers along side lighter yellows, creams and white. This compact plant stands tall in wind and rain and is drought-tolerant once established.

PowWow Wild Berry coneflower lives up to its name. The vivid, deep-rose-purple flowers retain their beautiful color all season long. You’ll enjoy continual bloom without deadheading or grooming.

Add more perennial beauty with Twizzle Purple Penstemon. The spikes of vibrant, purple blooms are favorites of hummingbirds and other pollinators. Include them in containers for added height or high-impact color anywhere in the landscape.

Extend your budget and increase perennial plantings next year by starting these three winners indoors by late January. Your efforts will be rewarded with flowers that same season.

And don’t let shade stop you from inviting pollinators into the garden. Bounce Pink Flame Impatiens has all the flower power of common impatiens but is resistant to downy mildew. Plus, they are a bit more forgiving if you allow them to wilt. Just add water, and they bounce back.

Plant Sunpatiens Spreading Shell Pink in full sun or shade. Enjoy the season-long, soft-pink flowers even in high heat, rain and humidity. This variety has all the low-maintenance beauty of impatiens but is resistant to downy mildew.

Once you’ve added these beauties to your landscape, sit back and enjoy. You and the pollinators will reap the many benefits of these winning additions to your gardens and containers.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by AAS for her expertise to write this article. Her website is

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