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Waterwise Plants for Pollinators

Spring is a great time to start planning (or finalize) your garden. With the many plants available, why not consider adding dual purpose blooms to your landscape? There are a variety of plants that are not only beautiful, but offer great benefit to our local pollinators.

Pollinators aren’t just honey bees! Colorado is home to about 950 species of native bees, 250 species of butterflies, over 1000 species of moths, 11 species of migratory hummingbirds and 18 species of bats.

When planting for pollinators, it is best to provide an ample variety of plants that offer nectar as well as pollen, and bloom at varying times throughout the season.

Another consideration when purchasing seeds or plants is to ensure your selection has not been treated with neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are a systemic pesticide that remains in the plant and surrounding soil for many years. These pesticides can be found the plant itself as well as the pollen and nectar, making them toxic to the pollinators that feed upon them.

Below you’ll find a list of drought tolerant, pollinator friendly plants for zone 6a. There are many additional plants available, however these will tolerate our hot temperatures and require less water than most all while providing nectar and pollen.

Table of Contents


Common NameScientific NameBloom Time
Crested Prickly PoppyArgemone polyanthemosSummer
Fringed Sagebrush, Prairie SagewortArtemisia frigidaSummer
Butterfly MilkweedAsclepias tuberosaSummer
Chocolate FlowerBerlandiera lyrataSummer
Purple Prairie CloverDalea purpureaSummer
Scarlet Hedgehog CactusEchinocereus coccineusSpring
Sulphur Buckwheat/FlowerErigonum umbellatumSummer
Four Nerve DaisyHymenoxys scaposa var. scaposaSummer
Scarlet Gilia, SkyrocketIpomopsis aggregataSummer-Fall
Gayfeather, Dotted Blazing StarLiatris punctataSummer-Fall
Blue FlaxLinum lewisiiSpring-Fall
Blackfoot DaisyMelampodium leucanthumSpring-Fall
Colorado Four O’ClockMirabilis multifloraSummer
Tufted Evening PrimroseOenothera caespitosaSummer
Yellow SundropsOenothera (Calylophus) serratulataSpring-Summer
Broadbeard/Narrow-leaf PenstemonPenstemon angustifoliusSpring-Summer
Colorado BeardtonguePenstemon auriberbisSpring-Summer
Beardlip Penstemon/Scarlet BuglerPenstemon barbatusSummer
Desert BeardtonguePenstemon pseudospectabilisSummer
Sidebells PenstemonPenstemon secundiflorusSummer
Rocky Mountain PenstemonPenstemon strictusSummer
Prairie/Mexican ConeflowerRatibida columniferaSummer-Fall
YarrowAchillea asteraceaeSpring
AsterAster asteraceaeSummer-Fall
CoreopsisCoreopsis asteraceaeSummer-Fall
Blanket FlowerGaillardia asteraceaeSummer-Fall
PasquePulsatilla patensSpring
Lemon Queen SunflowerHelianthus ‘Lemon Queen’Summer
HyssopHyssopus officinalisSummer-Fall
LavendarLavendula lamiaceaeSummer
CatmintNepeta lamiaceaeSummer
Agastache Summer-Fall
Salvia Spring-Summer


Common NameScientific NameBloom Time
Indian RicegrassAchnatherum (Oryzopsis) hymenoidesSummer
Big BluestemAndropogon gerardiiSummer
Silver BluestemBothriochloa laguroidesSummer-Fall
Sideoats GramaBouteloua curtipendulaSummer-Fall
Blue GramaBouteloua gracilisSummer-Fall
SwitchgrassPanicum virgatumSummer-Fall
Little BluestemSchizachyrium scopariumSummer


Common NameScientific NameBloom Time
LeadplantAmorpha canescensSummer
RabbitbrushEricameria nauseosa (Chrysothamnus nauseosus)Summer-Fall
Tree ChollaCylindropuntia imbricata var. imbricataSpring-Summer
Apache PlumeFallugia paradoxaSummer
Winter FatKrascheninnikovia lanataSummer-Fall
Soapweed YuccaYucca glaucaSummer
Blue Mist SpireaCaryopteris lamiaceaeSummer
Russian SagePerovskia lamiaceaeSummer-Fall
GoldenrodSolidago asteraceaeSummer-Fall


Common NameScientific NameBloom Time
Piñon PinePinus edulisSpring
American PlumPrunus americanaSpring
Gambel’s Oak Quercus gambelliiSpring

What are your favorite waterwise pollinator plants? Let us know and we may add them to the list!

Sources and Additional Resources:

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