Written (and Photographed) by Mary Free, Certified Master Gardener
Do you want to create or add to a pollinator garden? Do you look at lists of plants that claim to be superior at attracting pollinators, then wonder which ones really perform best?
If you wish to target bees, then consider native Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot). If you need convincing, click on the image below to watch this video recorded in late June 2016 at the Glencarlyn Library Community Garden in Arlington, Virginia.
Besides a myriad of bees, wild bergamot flowers attract syrphid flies, parasitic wasps (which prey on garden pests), skippers, and ruby-throated hummingbirds (although they prefer the red Monarda didyma). Its leaves host larval forms of the orange mint and hermit sphinx moths. Its seed heads appeal to small birds.
If you would like to learn more about its attributes, growing conditions and maintenance, refer to Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic.
Below are the pollinators in the video: