Very Important Pollinators Set to Take Stage

Butterflies and bees are returning to the 2017 summer pollinator lineup, and we’re getting ready to welcome these VIPs by planting their faves throughout the forest preserves. Use our free Very Important Pollinator seed mix to set the stage in your own backyard, and enjoy the show!

Pick up a seed packet at Danada Equestrian Center and Danada headquarters in Wheaton, Fullersburg Nature Education Center in Oak Brook, Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago, Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook and Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn. Our seeds are native to DuPage County and include rose milkweed, New England aster, wild bergamot, foxglove beardtongue, yellow coneflower, black-eyed Susan, stiff goldenrod and little bluestem.

Rose milkweed
Monarch butterflies are dependent on milkweeds for laying eggs and serving as a food source for their larvae. These plants were once plentiful and thought to be weeds because they grew so abundantly in agricultural fields. However, they’re nearly eradicated in today’s farm fields due to regular Glyphosate treatments. Fragmentation, pollution and other threats have decimated many milkweed varieties.

The rose milkweed is easily one of the best milkweeds for the home landscape. It does well in normal to medium-moist spots and also thrives in rain gardens. 

Height4 feet
Soil ConditionsWet, mesic
Flower ColorPink

Rose Milkweed

New England aster

The New England aster is a beautiful and large bushy plant with purple or pink flowers. It grows well in full sun but also tolerates a bit of shade. This versatile plant can grow in many soil conditions from wet to a bit dry. It is an important late season nectar plant. 

Height5 feet
Soil ConditionsWet mesic, mesic
Flower ColorPurple or pink

New England Aster

Wild bergamot
Wild bergamot is a pretty plant with purplish flowers that support many mid-season pollinators. Its leaves have been used for centuries in herbal teas and medicinal plants by Native Americans.  

Height4 – 5 feet
Soil ConditionsWet mesic, mesic, dry mesic, dry
Flower ColorPink or purple

Wild Bergamot 

Foxglove beardtongue
Foxglove beardtongue is an excellent early summer choice for the home landscape. Its showy flowers attract early summer pollinators, particularly many groups of bees. It serves as a great accent plant in the backyard setting due to its foliage and flowers.  

Height3 feet
Soil ConditionsMesic, dry mesic
Flower ColorWhite

Fox Glove Beardtongue 

Yellow coneflower
The yellow coneflower is a tall plant with bright yellow flowers that attract butterflies and bees. The crushed seed head produce a fruity smell. This plant grows in clay, marginal and normal soils. 

Height4 –5 feet
Soil ConditionsMesic, dry mesic
Flower ColorYellow

Yellow Coneflower 
Black-Eyed Susan
The black-eyed Susan is a biennial, meaning it typically lives for two years. It grows to medium height and produces attractive flowers. Look for fuzzy leavings on seedlings.  

Height2 – 3 feet
Soil ConditionsWet mesic, mesic, dry mesic, dry
Flower ColorYellow

Black-Eyed Susan

Stiff goldenrod
Stiff goldenrod is a tall perennial. It produces yellow flowers in the fall, which support late pollinators.  

Height3 – 5 feet
Soil ConditionsWet mesic, mesic, dry mesic
Flower ColorYellow

Stiff Goldrenrod 

Little bluestem
Little bluestem is a warm season and short grass. Its compact growth habit lends itself well to a border placement in landscaped settings. The grass has a blue hue in the summer that gives way to a nice orange or pinkish color in fall.  

Height2 –3 feet
Soil ConditionsMesic, mesic dry, dry


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