Best Shrubs to Attract Pollinators (Midwest)

Pollinators depend on diversity of plants and being able to find the food they need. Shrubs are vital to a pollinator friendly garden. By incorporating different canopy layers in the landscape and planting shrubs with various seasons of bloom you will attract different pollinator species and provide pollen and nectar throughout the seasons. It can be as simple as planting a small grouping in your landscape. These are just a few of the many choices for shrubs that draw pollinators–consult with your local garden center for even more options.

Many shrubs span a wide variety of zones. You might want to read our suggestions for other regions to increase your choices: NortheastSoutheast, South, Southwest, Northwest.

Flower Carpet® Amber Groundcover Rose

Semi-double, fragrant, peachy-amber blooms, fade to a seashell pink as they age. Excellent heat and humidity tolerance. Zone: 4 – 10

Attracts: Bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds.

Munchkin Oakleaf Hydrangea

Compact with a profusion of robust flower clusters that open white and age to pink, remaining upright even after heavy rain. Zone: 5 – 9

Attracts: Honeybees, bumblebees, and hoverflies.

Gold Star Potentilla

Beautiful display of golden yellow blooms that cover the finely textured green foliage profusely throughout summer. Tolerates poor soils. Zone: 3 – 7

Attracts: Hoverflies, parasitic wasps, mason bees, leafcutter bees, solitary bees.

Scarlet Pearl Snowberry

Light pink summer blooms produce an abundance of highly ornamental large pink berries that are an important winter food source for birds. Zone: 3 – 7

Attracts: Hummingbirds, bumblebees.

Black Lace™ Elderberry

Pink flowers in spring and blackish fall berries contrast with dark leaves. Berries can be left on plant to attract birds and other wildlife. Zone: 4 – 7

Attracts: Hoverflies, honeybees, little carpenter, mason, Halictid and Syrphid bees, beetles.

Goldflame Spirea

The little butterfly magnet! Panicles of rosy red flowers rise above the golden foliage in summer, creating a dynamic contrast. Zone: 4 – 9

Attracts: Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds.

Pagoda Dogwood

Masses of tiny, white, fragrant flowers appear in early summer followed by blue-black fall berries consumed by more than 40 species of birds.  Zone: 4 – 8

Attracts: bees, butterflies, hoverflies.

Chaste Tree

Fast-growing multi-trunked shrub (or small tree) with fragrant lilac-colored blooms, backed by aromatic gray-green foliage. Zone: 5 – 9

Attracts: Bees, butterflies, moths.


  • Determine which pollinator-friendly plants are appropriate for your region.

  • Limit your use of chemicals (both synthetic and organic) and use plenty of compost and mulch to build healthy soil. Healthy soils create healthy plants.

  • Plan your garden so that there is something blooming (different color,fragrance, and season of bloom) for as many months as you can manage. Many pollinators, especially bees, forage during the entire growing season.

  • Provide shelter by letting your yard get a little wild. Allow a hedge to grow untrimmed, leave a section of lawn unmowed, pile up grass cutting in a sunny spot, and create a nesting habitat by leaving some soil bare for ground nesting bees.

  • Group plantings so that pollinators can move safely through the landscape protected from predators.

  • A clean, reliable source of water is essential to pollinators.

  • Plant a diversity of plants to support a variety of pollinators.

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