9 Container Combos To Appeal to Pollinators

Various flowering plants with blooms throughout the season draw pollinators like birds, honeybees, butterflies, moths, and other beneficial insects to the garden. A variety of flower shapes and forms ensure these important visitors have access to nectar for energy and pollen for protein, as well as places to land and shelter. 

A biodiverse garden offers natural pest control, where predatory insects like lacewings and ladybugs manage destructive pests like aphids and mites. We also know that pollinating creatures are responsible for flourishing flowering plants and food crops.

Blend annuals, perennials, vegetables, and herbs in containers to encourage and host wildlife. Birds and insects benefit from the variety and multi-season appeal. Here, we’ve included potted designs with central focal points, filler plants, and spilling specimens promoting insectary qualities. Whether formal displays or naturalistic and wild, the pollinators enjoy either. We’ll highlight the overarching themes of pollinator arrangements and suggest selections to recreate the charm.


Indian Peace Pipe Nicotiana Seeds

Indian Peace Pipe Nicotiana Seeds


Cascade of Color Trailing Lobelia Seeds

Cascade of Color Trailing Lobelia Seeds


Brazilian Vervain Verbena Seeds

Brazilian Vervain Verbena Seeds

Nicotiana, Calibrachoa, and Sweet Potato Vine

Close-up of a floral arrangement featuring Nicotiana with pale yellow-green flowers, Calibrachoa with bright red tubular flowers, and Sweet Potato Vine with lobed dark purple leaves.This annual trio thrives in sun and shade, blooming resiliently.

Nicotiana brings an upright element to the display and has unique tubular flowers, while calibrachoa spreads and spills with bloom-packed stems. Sweet potato vine has broad leaves in chartreuse or purple and provides shelter options and the occasional flower in addition to visual appeal.

This annual selection withstands high heat and periods of dryness, though they’ll grow best with regular moisture. Each plant grows and blooms in sunny and partially shaded spots.

Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’

Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’ features clusters of star-shaped, lime-green flowers that contrast strikingly with its large, lush green leaves.Star-shaped trumpet flowers dazzle, attracting butterflies and pollinators.

Clusters of star-shaped trumpet flowers make nicotiana (flowering tobacco) a striking garden annual. Tubular blooms in deep red, pink, lime green, and creamy white dazzle from summer through frost. The plant’s jasmine-like fragrance attracts butterflies and other pollinators to the garden.

‘Lime Green,’ in enchanting chartreuse, complements a variety of colors and foliage in mixed planters. This Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit recipient is low-maintenance and easy to grow in containers. It needs no deadheading or pruning to flower profusely throughout the summer.

For best blooming and vigor, nicotiana needs soils rich in organic matter with even moisture and good drainage. In hot summer climates, protect plants from direct afternoon sun.

Calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Scarlet’

Calibrachoa x hybrida ‘MiniFamous Scarlet’ displays small, trumpet-shaped scarlet flowers densely packed on trailing stems, accompanied by tiny green leaves.
Cascading blooms in vibrant colors attract pollinators all season.

Calibrachoa makes an excellent container feature with a cascading habit and loads of bell flowers from spring through late fall. Also called million bells, calibrachoa resembles a mini-petunia in flower and form. Calibrachoa spans the color spectrum from pale pastels to deep primary hues and blended shades.

Calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Scarlet’ boasts abundant bloom coverage in deep red with bright edges and a yellow center. The trumpet blooms are ideal for pollinators, and the repeat flowering will have them returning for nectar.

Calibrachoa handles hot summers better than petunias and withstands some drought. They require fast-draining soils rich in organic matter. Plants grow in sun or partial shade, though at least four to six hours of sun promotes best flowering.

Sweet Potato Vine ‘Blackie’

Ipomoea batatas ‘Blackie’ showcases deep purple, almost black, lobed leaves and bell-shaped soft purple flowers.Trailing foliage adds bold color and provides insect shelter.

Ornamental sweet potato vine invites a shock of color in trailing form. Its lush, broad leaves are chartreuse or purple-black. The vine forms a mounded ground cover with runners cascading amongst potted arrangements.

Sweet potato vine ‘Blackie’ features deeply lobed leaves in dark purple-black. The tropical look and bold color contrast other plants, and the vines provide shelter for buzzing insects and trumpet-shaped blooms in summer.

Sweet potato vines are incredibly versatile, easy-care annuals. If stems get sparse or leggy, cut them back to promote fullness and new growth.

Petunia, Lobelia, and Annual Verbena

Close-up of a floral arrangement featuring bright pink Petunias, purple-flowered Lobelia, and Annual Verbena with clusters of bright red flowers.This vibrant trio attracts pollinators with a rainbow of trumpet flowers.

This trio is a pollinator magnet! With their large trumpet flowers in a rainbow of colors, petunias stand out among the fine texture of petite lobelia blooms in neon blue, and annual verbena is bright carmine. The combination offers a range of flower shapes for visiting insects and birds, each with tubular throats for nectar production.

Petunia ‘Supertunia Royal Magenta’

Petunia ‘Supertunia Royal Magenta’ boasts vibrant, magenta-colored trumpet-shaped flowers that blanket the plant's trailing green foliage.
Bright blooms attract beneficial insects and hummingbirds continuously.

Petunias shine in pots with showy waves of blooms from spring through frost. From bubblegum pink to velvety black, with single, double, or ruffled flowers, there’s a petunia for every planting combination.

‘Supertunia Royal Magenta’ is a top performer with a vigorous habit that mounds and trails. Its flowers are bright pink with brushes of purple and dark centers. The glowing flower attracts beneficial insects and draws hummingbirds to the display.

The plants are heat- and drought-tolerant and don’t need deadheading to bloom continuously. 

Petunias appreciate a dose of slow-release fertilizer at planting time. If they get leggy, give them a trim to refresh new growth.

Lobelia ‘Hot Waterblue’

Lobelia erinus ‘Hot Waterblue’ features masses of small, vivid blue flowers with white eyes, densely covering its trailing, delicate green foliage.
Striking blue flowers provide high contrast and tubular blooms.

Lobelia features striking blue flowers that bring high contrast and tubular blooms from late spring through fall. Masses of dainty flowers cover silvery green foliage when in full bloom.

The ‘Hot’ series creates a cloud of blue, pink, white, or lavender blooms for rich color in potted designs. ‘Hot Waterblue’ blends periwinkle and white for a sweet powder blue accent. ‘Hot’ is an early-blooming collection with long-lasting flowering and improved heat resistance.

Other heat-tolerant varieties include ‘Techno Heat Dark Blue’ for longer blooming during the summer heat. Even with good heat tolerance, lobelia performs best in mild summer climates or shade.

Verbena ‘Superbena Red’

Verbena ‘Superbena Red’ presents clusters of bright red, five-petaled flowers that sit atop trailing stems with finely divided green leaves.
Clusters of star-shaped flowers cascade from mounding, trailing stems.

Annual verbena yields clusters of star-shaped flowers on the tips of mounding, trailing stems, perfect for filling and spilling in planting designs. Dark green foliage provides an attractive backdrop to the showy bloom rounds.

Verbena ‘Superbena Red’ brings large, bright red blooms to enchant butterflies and hummingbirds. Plants are vigorous with repeat flowering, even in the heat. 

Verbena tolerates bright sun and drying out between waterings, but it appreciates regular water in containers for best blooming. The ‘Superbena’ series doesn’t require pruning, but as the season progresses, give it a trim for shaping if needed.

Tall Verbena, Spurge, and Nasturtium

A close-up of a flowerpot with a delightful floral arrangement featuring blooming clusters of Tall Verbena, Spurge with small green flowers, Nasturtium with intricate green foliage and bright red flowers, Bromeliad, and other ornamental plants.This dynamic arrangement beckons pollinators with tropical flair and vibrant colors.

This bold arrangement infuses texture and color with a tropical style that calls to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The overall tone is energy and movement, and the pollinators add to that flare. Vibrant bromeliads and colocasia bring broad-leaved color and form, while ‘Prairie Fire’ sedge offers fine-bladed filler. 

Tall verbena gives airiness with flat-topped flower clusters, and nasturtium provides a pillowy, mounding group of padded leaves to cascade along planter edges with trumpet flowers. Chartreuse euphorbia brings a bright spray amongst rich foliage and flowers. This container design tolerates full sun to partial shade.

Tall Verbena

Verbena bonariensis displays tall, slender stems topped with clusters of small, lavender-purple flowers.
Slender stems wave lavender blooms, quickly reaching three feet.

Tall verbena is a tender perennial with slender stems and waving lavender bloom clusters. It quickly reaches three feet—up to six feet in optimal conditions—but is likely not as tall in containers. 

Verbena bonariensis is a recipient of the Royal Horticulture Society Award of Garden Merit for its vigorous landscape performance and floriferous qualities. It’s so adaptable that the plant is invasive in parts of the West Coast and southeastern U.S., where it readily reseeds. In potted displays, deadhead spent blooms to promote flowering and prevent seeding.

Liatris, monarda, and penstemon make beautiful North American native alternatives if you’re looking for a perennial with a long bloom season high on the pollinator-attracting scale. Native prairie verbena has a similar look and is perfect for the areas where it is native, too.


Spurge Euphorbia features clusters of tiny, lime-green flowers surrounded by bracts, set against bluish-green, lance-shaped leaves.
Unique foliage and bloom sprays in yellow and chartreuse.

Euphorbia, or spurge, boasts unique foliage and bloom sprays in yellow and chartreuse. Ornamental varieties include Euphorbia robbiae, Robb’s spurge, and Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow.’

Robb’s spurge reaches 18 inches tall and prefers partial to full shade. Thick, dark green leaves whorl around stems. Yellowish flowers emerge in spring and last until fall. In the ground, Robb’s spurge spreads as a ground cover in tough, shady sites that other perennials find challenging. 

‘Ascot Rainbow’ euphorbia has showy foliage in pink, red, and lime variegation among mint-green leaves. Flower bracts are bright greenish-yellow and emerge in spring. This is an exciting foliage plant and bloomer to welcome pollinators in versatile container arrangements.

Euphorbia esula, or leafy spurge, is invasive in areas of the United States, so opt for non-aggressive selections for similar bursts of color in flower and foliage.


Tropaeolum showcases bright, funnel-shaped flowers in shades of orange, contrasted by round, peltate green leaves.
Nectar-rich flowers and peppery leaves attract pollinators.

Nasturtium has round, true-green leaves on mounding and climbing stems. Pollinators can’t resist the tubular yellow, orange, and red nectar-rich flowers.

Depending on the plant combination, nasturtium lends a naturalized or loose tropical feel with herbal qualities. Its leaves and flowers are edible and have a peppery flavor. 

Nasturtiums are easy-to-grow annuals and are well-suited to container culture. They tolerate dry conditions and appreciate afternoon shade in hot, southern climates. Some even trail out of containers, providing a stunning spiller effect.

Dahlia, Ivy-Leaf Geranium, and Euphorbia

A close-up of a stunning floral arrangement featuring bright purple-pink Dahlias, Ivy-Leaf Geranium with pink flowers, and Euphorbia with tiny white flowers.Vibrant blooms paint a kaleidoscope of colors, attracting repeat admirers.

Variations in flower forms and colors are the overarching components of this floriferous display. Dahlia in berry pink, ivy-leaf geranium in coral pink, and impatiens in orange create a kaleidoscope of color. Euphorbia brings a dusting of tiny white blooms amongst the coarser textures. Like a neon sign, these flowers ensure repeat customers.

Dahlia ‘LaBella Grande Purple’

Dahlia ‘LaBella Grande Purple’ boasts large, fully double purple flowers with layers of pointed petals.
Vibrant dahlias steal summer’s floral spotlight.

Dahlias add drama to the summertime garden as stunning specimens and showy cut flowers. Beautiful, large blooms in various colors and petal arrangements make them a garden standout. Bees, butterflies, and hoverflies flock to dahlias with open centers for their nectar and pollen.

‘LaBella Grande Purple’ is a formal dahlia bloom with rounded petals that flare from open yellow centers. The flowers are bright raspberry pink and age to paler tones. Plants are compact with multi-branching for increased flowering.

Dahlias grow best in full sun with evenly moist, well-drained soils. While they tolerate partial shade, full sun increases plant vigor and flowering.

Ivy-Leaf Geranium ‘Precision Rose’

Ivy-Leaf Geranium ‘Precision Rose’ presents clusters of rose-pink flowers with ruffled edges.
Cascading with vibrant hues and lush, trailing foliage, these flowers thrive.

Ivy-leaf geraniums feature distinct leaves, flowers, and forms, bringing texture and vibrancy to the floral display. They both mound and trail to quickly fill pots with ivy-shaped leaves and color-saturated petals.

The ‘Precision’ series features early blooming, a uniform habit, and disease resistance. ‘Precision Rose’ has deep pink-carmine flowers among attractive green leaves. ‘Precision Pink’ is a lighter hue, while ‘Precision Pink Flamingo’ brings bright, hot pigments.

Geraniums grow best with at least four to six hours of sunlight. In hot climates, offer protection from direct afternoon sun. They thrive with regular water in well-drained soils, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Pinch off spent blooms to encourage more flowers and a full, leafy plant.

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ features a profusion of tiny, delicate white flowers that create a cloud-like effect above fine, green foliage.
Dainty white blooms of Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ grace any garden.

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ has tiny white flowers that cover deep green leaves in a glittering aura. While they appear delicate, the plants are drought and heat-resistant and grow in various light conditions, from full sun to dappled shade.

Equally durable is ‘Diamond Snow,’ a variety that produces clouds of slightly larger white blooms for a denser look. Both selections appeal to pollinators, who manage to extract food from the petite blooms.

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ adds a delicate look to soften and vary plant compositions. Use it at the front or edge of containers to mound and lightly trail.

Gaura and Nemesia

Close-up of a superb floral arrangement in a gray container featuring delicate white Gaura flowers, pale peach Nemesia flowers, rich burgundy Pelargonium clusters, and purple Petunias, set against a garden backdrop of flowering plants.This mix provides a feast of colors and nectar for pollinators.

This combination brings multi-toned petals and nectar-rich food sources for flying insects and hummingbirds. Gaura offers light and airy stems with delicate blooms, while nemesia accents the plant’s base with a profusion of color. Petunias anchor and fill the arrangement in rich purple-blue.

Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ has delicate white flowers that resemble butterflies in flight, on tall, wispy stems with narrow green leaves.
Airy blooms sway elegantly, attracting diverse garden visitors year-round.

A graceful perennial, gaura’s airy blooms float on wanding stems. Gaura lends a delicate look to the container garden with white or pink flowers that sway and dance above neighboring plants. Also called bee blossom, these plants are a favorite among bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other biodiverse garden visitors.

Gaura is a North American native wildflower, and cultivars like ‘Whirling Butterflies’ are well-suited to container culture. ‘Whirling Butterflies’ is more compact than the straight species, with brighter white flowers on pinky-red stems. The blooms look like butterflies in flight.

Grow potted gaura in full sun. They tolerate heat and humidity. Allow guara to dry out a bit between waterings. Ensure the potting mix drains rapidly and is not overly rich in organic matter. Gaura flowers beautifully from spring through frost; cut spent bloom spikes to promote flowering.

Nemesia ‘Sunsatia Coconut’

Nemesia ‘Sunsatia Coconut’ presents small, fragrant, bi-colored flowers with white and yellow petals, set against green foliage.
Petite tubular flowers bring rich colors to cool-season garden beds.

Nemesia is a sweet annual with two-lipped tubular flowers in colors from creamy white to coral to blue. Its petite blooms add rich color to cool-season plantings. Early to flower, nemesia provides nectar when other plants haven’t yet emerged. 

The ‘Sunsatia’ series boasts improved heat tolerance in colorful selections like the white ‘Coconut,’ melon peach ‘Mango,’ and sunny yellow ‘Lemon.’ These delicious hybrids allow plants to bloom longer as temperatures rise post-spring.

Nemesia doesn’t like heat and suffers in hot temperatures and humidity. In cool, northern climates, plants bloom from spring until frost, but in hot, southern summers, nemesia grows best as a cool season annual. In moderate growing areas, blooming starts in the spring and subsides with higher temperatures, to resume again in the fall.

Angelonia, Penta, and Zinnia

Close-up of a large flowerpot made from an old wooden barrel, containing flowering Angelonia, Penta, and Zinnia plants with brightly colored inflorescences and flowers in shades of purple, pink, and orange.This vibrant trio thrives in sun, bursting with summer colors.

Angelonia, pentas, and zinnias may be the summeriest arrangement yet. These heat-loving annuals flourish in full sun and bloom continuously. Angelonia’s tall purple bloom spikes complement the pentas’ hot pink clustered petals here. Trailing zinnia accents in orange.

Angelonia ‘Angelface Super Blue’

Angelonia ‘Angelface Super Blue’ displays spikes of rich blue, orchid-like flowers.
Graceful angelonia blooms in cool-hued spikes for summer charm.

Angelonia produces colorful bloom spikes in rich blue, purple, pink, rose, white, and bicolor that wash over the warm-season display in cool tones. Petite two-lipped flowers line stems among delicate, deep green foliage. 

‘Angelface Super Blue’ is among the tallest of the group, with bloom spikes that reach over three feet tall. These towering spires in deep purple-blue are showy against crisp white and amongst vibrant primary colors and pastel shades.

Angelonia thrives in full sun with rich soils and good drainage. It is drought, heat, and humidity-tolerant and has a mounded, bushy habit. The stems are self-cleaning and don’t need deadheading to promote flowering.

Penta ‘Butterfly Deep Pink’

Penta ‘Butterfly Deep Pink’ features clusters of bright, deep pink star-shaped flowers, set against lush, green foliage.
Vibrant clusters of star-shaped flowers bring summer gardens to life

Pentas bring a burst of annual color with clusters of star-shaped flowers in red, pink, lavender, white, or all of the above. Pentas bloom with the onset of summer temperatures and are showy until frost. The flowers keep hummingbirds busy as they visit each tiny bloom for its nectar. 

The ‘Butterfly’ series is a top garden performer with low-maintenance growing requirements. These pentas boast extended blooming and varietal colors, including pure white, lavender, rose, and violet. ‘Butterfly Deep Pink’ has large flower clusters in fresh pink—the perfect landing pads for pollinators. Tall stems provide vertical interest and a “thriller” for container designs.

Pentas tolerate some shade but flower best in full sun. Tough annuals that withstand hot and humid summers, pentas also tolerate periods of drought. This easy-care annual brings long-lasting, vibrant color and sweet nectar to the display.

Zinnia ‘Profusion Orange’

Zinnia ‘Profusion Orange’ boasts abundant, vibrant orange daisy-like flowers that bloom continuously, set against disease-resistant green foliage.
Bright orange blooms add zing to summer garden borders and beds.

Whether tall and upright or low-growing and spreading, zinnias infuse the annual planting with cheery disc flowers. Hardy hybrids like ‘Profusion’ carry drought tolerance, disease resistance, and a mounding habit with flowers covering plants from summer through fall.

‘Profusion’ performs in all climates with single or double two-inch blooms. The flowers are smaller than traditional zinnias, and plants mound rather than stand tall, but the “profusion” of blooms is excellent, spilling from container edges. ‘Orange,’ ‘White,’ ‘Cherry,’ and the lovely ‘Double Deep Salmon’ are All-America Selections award winners, and ‘Cherry’ is a Fleuroselect Gold Medal recipient.

Zinnias need good air circulation to thrive. Provide well-drained soil and full sun to prevent pests and fungal diseases, especially in humid climates.

Canna Lily and Cleome

A close-up of a floral arrangement featuring Canna Lily with delicate pink and deep red flowers, and Cleome with unique, explosive flower heads in pink hues reminiscent of spiders.The canna lily and cleome bring tropical flair in vibrant reds and pinks.

This duo packs tropical drama with upright blooms that tower and wand in rich red and sparkling pink. Canna’s broad, upright leaves and tall flowers create vertical interest while cleome sails around the arrangement with spidery stems. Calibrachoa and petunia highlight the foundation in reds, pinks, and peachy hues.


Canna showcases large, tropical-looking leaves and striking flowers in shades of red on tall, sturdy stems.
Striking foliage and vibrant flowers thrive in hot summer gardens.

Canna lilies add a bold, tropical flare to the summer display. Their ruffly, colorful blooms on tall stems and broad-leaved, multi-toned foliage add drama and interest. The flowers range from pale yellow to hot orange and scarlet.

The deep scarlet shades of red canna selections make stately focal points in potted schemes. ‘Tropicana Red’ produces huge crimson flowers among dark purple-maroon leaves. ‘Red Dazzler’ has orange-red blooms and light-to-deep green leaves. ‘Toucan Coral’ in orange-pink brings unique color to the composition. 

Cannas are rugged beauties and hardy garden performers that withstand dry spells, heat, humidity, and excess moisture. They grow and flower best in full sun but tolerate lesser sunlight (around four hours).


Cleome hassleriana presents tall, spiky cluster of spider-like pink flowers, with palmate green leaves.
Tall spikes of colorful blooms attract pollinators throughout the season.

Cleome bursts in displays with blooming wands of purple, pink, rose, and white flower clusters. Tall, upright stems hold delicate flowers with long stamens (hence the common name spider flower). Long, narrow seed pods emerge after each bloom.

Cleome grows easily from seed and self-seeds in the landscape, and growing them in containers is a suitable means of keeping plants in check. Some sterile varieties, like ‘Senorita Rosalita,’ are compact growers that won’t reseed – perfect for pots.

The colorful blooms of spider flowers attract numerous pollinators. Cleome creates an informal, wild look, with a bloom show from early summer through frost. Cleome also makes excellent cut flowers.

Lantana and Mandevilla

A close-up of a large clay pot containing flowering Lantana plants producing clusters of tiny, vibrant orange-yellow flowers, Mandevilla with tropical red flowers and glossy green foliage, and Angelonia with tall clusters of purple and white hues.Colorful blooms and textured foliage attract bumble bees and butterflies.

Lantana and mandevilla create a vivid display of trailing interest and vertical enjoyment. Lantana bears loads of bloom clusters in an array of colors, while mandevilla brings broad texture with thick, leathery leaves and large trumpet blooms. Mandevilla benefits from an upright support structure to direct vining stems. Both plants are irresistible to bumble bees and butterflies.

Lantana ‘Hot Pink Little Lucky’

Lantana camara ‘Flortanapi’ displays clusters of small, vibrant multi-colored flowers in shades of pink, orange, and yellow, set against dark green foliage.
Clusters of tiny flowers in sunny hues brighten any garden.

Lantana offers a bundle of overflowing colors in pollinator planting combinations. They thrive in hot, dry, and humid conditions and salty exposures.

Lantana ‘Hot Pink Little Lucky’ is an early-blooming, compact variety that glows in vivid reds, golds, oranges, and pinks. They offer a swirl of color as the petite blooms open on each cluster.

Lantana is rugged and reliable and grows well in containers with both upright and trailing forms. Err on the dry side between watering sessions; lantana doesn’t do well when overwatered or in soggy soils. 

Mandevilla ‘Sun Parasol Crimson’

Mandevilla ‘Sun Parasol Crimson’ features large, trumpet-shaped crimson flowers with a yellow throat, complemented by glossy, dark green leaves.
Bold red flowers on vigorous vines create stunning summer displays.

Mandevilla is a showy tropical vine with large trumpet blooms from spring through fall. Varieties in red, pink, yellow, and white stand out with glossy, veined leaves in rich green.

‘Sun Parasol’ is a heat-loving selection with large crimson blooms and textural dark green leaves. Plants grow tall and need a large container and support structure for best form. They make an exceptional focal point specimen and are a pollinator favorite.

Mandevilla is resistant to heat, drought, and disease. These low-maintenance growers adapt to a variety of conditions. Regular moisture in pots ensures the best flowering.

Salvia, Coreopsis, and Rosemary

Black hanging containers on a sunny balcony include flowering purple Salvia, orange Coreopsis, pink and white Sweet William, and non-flowering Rosemary.Violet-blue spikes and golden rays beckon pollinators seasonally.

This perennial trio delights pollinators (and gardeners) season after season. Salvia, with violet-blue bloom spikes, beautifully contrasts the golden ray petals of coreopsis. Rosemary offers a textural contrast with needled foliage, and when covered in full bloom, bees and hummingbirds visit each flower for nectar. Tucked into the arrangement is echinacea, which, when blooming, rounds out the perennial arrangement.

Salvia ‘Big Blue’

Salvia ‘Big Blue’ boasts tall spikes of rich blue flowers, accompanied by lance-shaped green leaves.
Tall spikes of blue flowers bring a splash of color.

Salvia is a classic favorite among bees, with abundant tube-shaped blossoms. Salvia ‘Big Blue’ is a hybrid selection that produces tall, dark purple-blue bloom spires from early summer through frost.

‘Big Blue’ is a hardy, dense, clumping grower. For cold-hardy salvias, look to the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit winners S. nemerosa ‘May Night’ and S. sylvestris ‘Blue Hill.’

Salvia are durable landscape performers. ‘Big Blue’ grows in full sun to partial shade and tolerates hot and dry spells.


Coreopsis features bright yellow, daisy-like flowers with toothed petals, set against finely divided green foliage.
Golden blooms from spring to fall brighten gardens, inviting pollinators.

Coreopsis energizes the garden with a profusion of sunshine-yellow blooms. It’s one of the first flowers to spring up and the last to fade – a benefit to insects looking for food when little else is in flower. At its peak in mid-summer, waves of yellow brighten the landscape.

Lance-leaved coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) is the most common coreopsis with signature feathery golden ray petals with yellow centers. Easy to grow, C. lanceolata is winter-hardy and drought-tolerant.

Coreopsis reseeds readily in the landscape. It’s a favorite nectar and pollen source for bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. Songbirds forage on the seeds in fall and winter.


Salvia rosmarinus displays blue to purple flowers along woody stems, with needle-like green leaves.Fragrant leaves and delicate blue flowers enchant gardeners year-round.

Rosemary brings form and fragrance to the container garden and reminds us to add herbs for bird and insect food sources. Blue blooms cover the stems in early summer, attracting biodiversity to the garden. 

Rosemary’s herby, needled foliage is highly aromatic with a lemon-camphor scent, perfect for clipping. Pair it with other herbs like Spanish lavender and bronze fennel for a buzzing selection.

A Mediterranean plant, rosemary thrives in full sun with very well-draining soil. It’s a drought-tolerant, carefree perennial with multi-season appeal. 

Final Thoughts

What’s more fun than creating floriferous displays that enrich garden habitat while adding beauty? Playing with flowering perennials and annuals is a win-win for gardeners and buzzing insects, hummingbirds, and songbirds who poke around to manage insects or forage after flowers go to seed. With a variation in flower forms and shapes from nectar and pollen-rich plants, the container garden buzzes with energy.

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