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5 Summer Blooming Shrubs for Pollinators

While we must remember that “pollinators” can include all sorts of insects, our focus here is butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Summer-blooming shrubs (June, July, and August in this case) will certainly attract their fair share of pollinators since its peak season, but there are a few that stand out as heads-of-the-pack.


Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)
Very fragrant, they can be visited by all three of our choice pollinators. Some are dwarf at about 2½’ tall and others taller at about 6’ tall, so they can be used amongst or behind other plantings to create a mixed bed for maximum impact. Native.


Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Great for rain gardens and troublesome wet spots, these unassuming natives are most popular with butterflies and bumble bees.

New Jersey Tea

New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)
Dainty white clusters attract the smaller pollinators, but these tough June-blooming natives are compact and easy to mix in with drought-tolerant perennials. *These can be difficult for us to find, please call ahead to make sure we have them in stock.

St. Johnswort

St. Johnswort (Hypericum)
Some purely native and some native hybrids, their intense golden-yellow flowers are a beacon for bees and open from July into fall. Try them in tough spots that stay on the drier side and areas troubled by deer.


Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis)
Though non-native, this compact shrub offers an uncommon hue (lavender-blue) late in the season that is a big draw for honeybees, bumble bees, and small butterflies. Also tolerant of dry soils and disliked by deer, they flower around July or August.


by Miri Talabac, Woody Plant Buyer

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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