As a landscape designer, I have worked on a myriad of Boston landscaping projects. During my experience, I’ve designed countless beautiful and ecologically beneficial local gardens. Every project has made me appreciate plant varieties and their benefits more than ever.
In this article, I’m excited to share some of my favorite eye-catching pollinator plants that thrive in the Boston, MA, climate, and region. You can incorporate these plants into your landscape to create a stunning garden and an essential pollinator habitat.
The Importance of Pollinator Plants in Your Landscape And Ecosystem
Recently, pollinators have gained a lot of recognition for sustaining our ecosystem. Pollinator species like Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and others facilitate reproduction and flowering in many plants. Moreover, pollinators enable fruit, vegetable, and nut production. The absence of pollinators would severely harm our food supply and the natural ecosystem.
Despite their importance, pollinators are facing increasing threats. Increased urbanization, habit destruction, agriculture land clearance, pesticide exposure, and climate change are taking a toll on pollinator populations. This decline is reducing plant diversity, lowering crop yields, and leading to ecosystem imbalance.
Cultivating pollinator-friendly plants is an effective way to help counteract the detrimental effects of declining pollinator populations. Given adequate food sources and habitat, pollinator-friendly plants support the reproduction and survival of essential species. These plants also contribute to the beauty and diversity of local ecosystems. You can easily incorporate these pollinator-friendly plants into any garden.
Moreover, your dynamic garden will support the local ecosystem. Pollinator-friendly gardens require less maintenance, use fewer resources, and have more resilience. This makes them an eco-friendly and sustainable choice.
Blue Fortune Anise Hyssop (Agastache)
Blue Fortune Anise Hyssop is a must-have for any pollinator-friendly garden. This beautiful perennial has spikes of lavender-blue blooms. These Flowers are in full bloom from mid-summer to early fall. The vibrant blooms create visual appeal in your garden and attract pollinator species like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
The Agastache Blue Fortune is a low-maintenance plant that is easily grown in full sun to partial shade. It prefers well-drained soils and is drought-tolerant, making it perfect for the Boston climate.
This plant is also known as Blue Fortune Hummingbird Mint due to its licorice-scented foliage and its attractiveness to hummingbirds.
Some tips for growing Blue Fortune Anise Hyssop include:
- Plant in well-drained soils and ensure good drainage to prevent crown rot and powdery mildew.
- Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root and leaf rot.
- Deadhead spent blooms to promote continuous flowering.
- Provide some protection in winter, as the plant may struggle with cold winters in the Boston area.
Other Eye-Catching Pollinator Plants
In addition to Blue Fortune Anise Hyssop, several other pollinator-friendly plants thrive in the Boston region. Consider adding these plants to your garden for an ecologically beneficial landscape:
Butterfly Flower (Asclepias tuberosa)
A vibrant, low-maintenance perennial that produces bright orange flowers from mid-summer to early fall. It is a host plant for Monarch butterflies and is attractive for other pollinators.
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
The Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a delightful, easy-to-grow perennial boasting stunning purple blooms. Every bloom has a prominent cone-shaped center. This plant is a sight to behold from mid-summer to early fall. It attracts various pollinators to your garden.
Bee Balm / Bergamot (Monarda didyma)
It is fragrant, nectar-rich perennial for garden cultivation. It produces colorful tubular flowers. The bright blooms attract a variety of pollinators, including hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Blooming from mid-summer to early fall, Bee Balm adds life to your garden.
False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
It is a stunning, low-maintenance native plant with striking blue-violet blooms. Its blooming starts in late spring and lasts till early summer. False Indigo is also drought-tolerant and very attractive to pollinators.
Creating a Pollinator-Friendly Habitat: Tips and Tricks
Apart from cultivating these eye-catching pollinator-friendly plants, you can adopt several other measures to create a welcoming and pollinator-friendly Boston garden. Here are some resource-friendly, effective strategies for creating a pollinator-friendly habitat:
Provide a Variety of Blooms
Plant a variety of flowering species with varying bloom times, flower shapes, and colors to invite a diverse range of pollinators. Plant diversity ensures a continuous supply of nectar and pollen to attract pollinators throughout the growing season. You can have a garden full of nature-friendly pollinators from early spring to late fall.
Pollinators need shelter to protect them from predators, and harsh weather, and to serve as nesting or resting sites.
You can create shelter by:
- Planting a mix of trees, shrubs, and perennials to offer different layers of protection.
- Leaving some bare soil and undisturbed areas for ground-nesting bees.
- Installing bee houses, birdhouses, or bat boxes to provide additional habitat options.
Pesticides can harm pollinators, so it’s best to avoid using them in your garden. Instead, opt for organic or natural pest control methods, such as introducing beneficial insects, using barriers, or practicing companion planting.
Just like any other living creature, pollinators need water to survive. Provide a shallow water source, like a birdbath or a small dish filled with water and rocks, so pollinators can drink without the risk of drowning.
Is Blue Fortune Anise Hyssop invasive?
Blue Fortune anise hyssop is not considered invasive. It is a hybrid cross between Agastache rugosa and Agastache foeniculum. It does not self-seed as aggressively as some other Agastache species. It is recommended to keep an eye on its growth and remove any unwanted seedlings.
How Tall Does Anise Hyssop Blue Fortune get?
Blue Fortune anise hyssop typically grows to a height of 2 to 3 feet, with a spread of 1.5 to 2 feet. Its compact size makes it suitable for border plantings, cottage gardens, and even containers.
How Do You Care For Hyssop Blue Fortune?
Caring for Blue Fortune anise hyssop is relatively easy, as it is a low-maintenance plant. Ensure it is planted in well-drained soil and receives full sun to partial shade. Water it moderately, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Prune spent blooms to encourage continuous flowering, and provide some winter protection in colder climates like Boston.
Is Blue Fortune Anise Hyssop Edible?
Yes, Blue Fortune anise hyssop is edible. The flowers and the leaves are used to add flavor to cold drinks, teas, and salads. The licorice-scented foliage and lavender-blue flowers are a fragrant and tasty addition to culinary creations.
Incorporating pollinator-friendly plants like Blue Fortune Anise Hyssop, Butterfly Flower, Purple Coneflower, Bee Balm, and False Indigo into your landscape will not only create an eye-catching garden but also help support local ecosystems. By providing essential habitat and food sources for pollinators, you are playing an active role in their conservation and enjoying the beauty and vitality they bring to your garden. So go ahead and embrace the beauty of these plants while making a difference for our environment and local wildlife.