Wildlife Gardens

What Makes a Plant Attractive to Pollinators?

Flowering plants reward gardeners with stunning displays of show-stopping blooms. At the heart of gardens, they never fail to inject colour and interest into our green spaces.

But plants have so much more to offer than their beauty alone. Flowers play a big part in supporting our ecosystem, with a whole host of pollinators relying on plants for food. These beneficial insects, including bees and butterflies, are vital to keeping our plants and crops healthy.

Adding pollinator-friendly plants to your garden will create a wildlife haven that is just as exciting for you as it is for pollinators.

Echinacea (coneflower) provides a large landing pad, attracting butterflies and other pollinators to the garden.

10 features of plants that attract pollinators: 

  1. Rich in nectar
  2. Plenty of pollen.
  3. Simple (and often flat) single-flower structures allow pollinators to easily reach the insides of flowers.
  4. Tubular flowers are often an important food source for bumblebees.
  5. Nectar guides (patterns in flowers that guide pollinators to the nectar and pollen).
  6. Fragrant blooms.
  7. Bright colours. An array of colours will attract a wide range of pollinators. 
  8. A mass of flower heads. Planting in groups and drifts will also create a great visual impact that is easier to detect by bees and other pollinators. 
  9. Year-round flowering. A diverse range of plants that bloom throughout the seasons will provide insects with a year-round food source. 
  10. Large flowers are great for certain insects that need an easy landing pad, such as beetles, who aren’t as agile in flight.


RHS Plants for Pollinators

To give wildlife a helping hand, look out for the Plants For Pollinators badge on our plant pages.

Need some inspiration? Check out our favourite varieties here!


Happy Gardening!