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Aster Lanceolatus Flower
Marsh Aster

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Wild Iris
Wild Iris
  • It is recommended to include at least three flowering species in each bloom period (spring, summer, fall) for projects so there is a continuous food source throughout the seasons.
  • In large conservation plantings separate pollinator plots/zones may be planted as high diversity areas (.3-2 acres). These plots/zones should include at least 15 species and have a high percentage of forbs (greater than 50% by seed count). See the list of Pilot State Seed Mixes for pollinator plot mixes for different parts of Minnesota.
  • Clump-forming grasses are important to provide nesting sites and to provide fuel for prescribed burning but are generally kept between 3 and 5 pounds per acre in pollinator mixes.
  • Shorter grasses such as little bluestem, side oats grama, and prairie dropseed (species that commonly grow in dry prairies) create less shade than taller grasses and allow forbs to grow effectively. Species should be selected that can persist in the soil and hydrology conditions of the site.
Black-eyed Susan


  • It is helpful to plant forbs in masses to make them easier for pollinators to find and to increase foraging efficiency. This is a good strategy for smaller stormwater plantings and native gardens as it also creates a sense of order for projects.
  • For urban projects it is useful to use "cues for care" along with native plantings to create order; such as edging, walls, fences, walkways, etc..
  • Including a wide range of flower colors and shape will benefit a variety of pollinator species.
  • Flowering trees and shrubs can also be important sources of pollen and nectar for pollinators, particularly early in the spring. 


  • When possible, plant species that can support specific insects that have specific needs for different geographic areas. (i.e., lupine for Karner blue butterfies, milkweed for monarchs, mints and goldenrods for Rusty-patch bumblebee).
  • Plants and plant communities native to a specific area will provide the most benefit to local pollinators. 

Seed Mixes/Plants

  • The NRCS 643 Practice Standard is used to provide specifications for most BWSR restoration projects in combination with the BWSR’s Native Vegetation Establishment and Enhancement Guidelines, which provide guidance about diversity and seed/plant sources for projects.
  • Private seed vendors often have pollinator mixes that can be used for projects. (Seed & Plant sources)
  • State seed mixes can also be used for pollinator habitat and will be going through additional revision to maximize benefits over time.
  • It is important to only use seed mixes/packets that have regionally adapted and appropriate species. See the fact sheet titled What You Can Do To Help Pollinators.pdf  for more information.

Selecting Plants and Seed Mixes



American Basswood

American Wild Plum (pdf)

Black Chokeberry (pdf)

Broad-leaf Arrowhead




Canada Anemone (pdf)

Cherries* (pdf)


Common Strawberry

Dogwoods (pdf)

Dutchman's Breeches*^

Elderberry (pdf)

Field Blue-eyed Grass

Golden Alexander*

Hoary Puccoon


Large Flowered Bellwort^

Long-headed Thimbleweed

Lowbush Blueberry (pdf)

Red Maple^ (pdf)

Large-Flowered Penstemon*

Nannyberry (pdf)

Prairie Milk Vetch

Prairie Phlox

Prairie Smoke

Rue Anemone*

Solomon's Seal



Violets^ (pdf)

Virginia Bluebells^

Virginia Waterleaf*^ (pdf)

White Baneberry^

Wild Lupine*

Wild Petunia

Willows (pdf) (Salix sp.)



Bedstaws (Galium sp.)

Blazing Stars* (Liatris sp.)

Blue Lobelia*

Blue Vervain

Bottle Gentian

Bush Clovers

Buttonbush (pdf)

Canada Anemone (pdf)

Canada Milkvetch (pdf)

Canada Tick Trefoil


Cow Parsnip

Culver's Root*

Cup Plant*


Dogwoods (pdf)

Evening Primrose

False Indigo (pdf)

False Sunflower*

Giant Hyssop* (pdf)

Grass-leaved Goldenrod* (pdf)


Hedge Nettle

Hoary Vervain*



Joe-Pye Weed* (pdf)

Large-leaved Aster^

Leadplant (pdf)

Milkweeds* (Asclepias sp.)

Narrow Leaf Coneflower*

Native Loosestrifes

Native Thistles* (pdf)

New Jersey Tea

Ninebark* (pdf)

Obedient Plant*

Partridge Pea

Prairie Cinquefoil

Purple Prairie Clover*

Prairie Coneflower (pdf)

Prairie Turnip

Prairie Wild Onion

Raspberries (pdf)/Blackberries*

Smooth Sumac

Spotted Bee Balm



Virginia Mountain Mint*


White Meadowsweet (pdf)

Wild Bergamot

Wild Iris

Wild Quinine*

Wild Mint (pdf)

Smooth Wild Rose* (pdf)



American Vetch

Annual Sunflower*

Black Eyed Susan (pdf)


Bugleweeds (Lycopus sp.)


Frost Aster* (pdf)


Grass-leaved Goldenrod* (pdf)

Maximilian's Sunflower*

New England Aster* (pdf)

Nodding Bur-Marigold* (pdf)

Showy Goldenrod*


Stiff Goldenrod*

Virginia Mountain Mint*

White Snakeroot^

Zig Zag Goldenrod*^

*High Value for Pollinator Species

^Shade Tolerant Species

Wild Bergamot
stiff goldenrod Halvorson site
Stiff Goldenrod


Prairie Blazing Star Spike
Prairie Blazing Star
Aster flat topped flower closeup
Flat-topped Aster


Dan Shaw
Senior Ecologist/Vegetation Specialist