Skip to main content

Do annual flowers attract pollinators? We want to know!

St. Paul campus Flowers for Pollinators site
"Plant flowers for pollinators" is a key message from our UMN bee experts. But what about annual flowers? Are they attractive to insect pollinators? We are currently in Year #4 of our study, examining whether pollinators such as honey bees, flies, bumble bees and other native bees, beetles, etc. would come visit the blossoms on popular annual flowers.

Annuals we're watching

Some favorites from the 30 varieties currently under observation: Dakota gold sneezeweed ( Helenium), Showstar butter daisy (Melampodium), annual Rudbeckia 'Orange fudge' and 'Prairie sun'; dwarf sunflowers (Helianthus) like 'Suntastic pink biocolor', and my personal favorite, 'Music box mix'. Cosmos 'Double click' was popular last year - will it be this year? Right now Salvia 'Purple fairy tale' has been full of honey bees on the St. Paul campus.

Extension educator Julie Weisenhorn
at the Bell Museum grand opening
Sites for this project include the horticulture display gardens on the St. Paul campus, the West
CentralResearch and Outreach Center (Morris, MN) and at the Horst Rechelbacher farm in Osceola, WI where we have 2 plantings. We have "minis" - smaller versions of the full trial - at Lake Minnetonka Shores (Spring Park, MN), and the Center for Spirituality and Healing (UMN - East Bank).

Twenty-five 4H students are doing their own version of F4P Minis in their backyards, and I spent some time at the grand opening of the new Bell Museum on "Science Sunday" July 15 talking to visitors with some example plants.

More at Flowers for Pollinators blog

Flowers for Pollinators is funded by the Horst Rechelbacher Foundation.

Article and photos by Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator - Horticulture
Print Friendly and PDF