Homes with backyards that extend living area and offer the promise of protecting our natural environment have strong appeal.

Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

Colorado’s hold on outdoor living is stronger now than ever. Homes with backyards that extend living area and offer the promise of protecting our natural environment have strong appeal.

There’s no better way to accomplish both than a pollinator garden. You can add color and season-long beauty to your home with a garden designed to attract butterflies and bees.

You can create this sanctuary by adding rows of bright flowers in an existing garden or placing decorative planters in eye-catching locations.

One important factor for a pollinator garden is a sunny location. Most flowering plants thrive in full sun and butterflies love the sunlight. It’s also imperative to not use pesticides of any kind – even organic. And your garden spot should be protected from wind. It’s best to plant near trees or shrubs that provide shelter.

With those location needs in mind, you can select flowering plants that most appeal to you, the butterflies and the bees.

Here are some flowering plants ideal for Boulder County growing zones of 5B to 6A, as described by

Butterfly Bush
This shrub comes in blue, purple and white, is easy to care for, and grows to be 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide. It’s large, but you can trim it back to near ground level in winter and early spring to control growth without harming the plant. It likes full sun and grows in zones 5 to 9.

This plant grows in bushes or clusters up to 4 feet tall and 1 foot wide with brilliant shades of red, pink, salmon, lavender, and white that bloom all summer long. Phlox is susceptible to powdery mildew, so you’ll want to get a variety that has been bred as resistant to this ailment. Full sun and zones 4 to 8 are needed.

Anise Hyssop
Here’s a plant made for Colorado. Its brilliant blue color is resistant to extreme heat and drought, and it repels deer and rabbits, while attracting butterflies. And it’s great for cutting flowers in late summer. Anise hyssop grows up to 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide in full sun in zones 4 to 10.

Considered one of the best options for fall, aster is quite colorful in shades of blue, purple, pink, red and white, making it aesthetically pleasing, as well as functional. It grows in zones 3 to 8, reaching up to 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide and supplies nectar in the fall for butterflies and Pearl Crescent caterpillars feast on the leaves.

Purple Coneflower
A Colorado favorite, the purple coneflower grows up to 5 feet tall and blooms through most of the summer, providing a nectar that many species of butterfly enjoy and making it ideal for your garden. It’s also good in high heat and drought conditions and cuts well for presentation.

One of the best things about salvia is the rainbow of blue, purple, red, orange and pink colors in which they come. The butterflies will flock to any strain since this is a particular favorite for the sweet nectar. Salvia grows up to 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide in zones 4 to 9.

If you’re a hummingbird lover, this 4-foot tall, star-shaped beauty in pink, red and white is for you. Dark pink varieties are best for attracting hummingbirds. Pentas are easy to grow, thrive in hot weather and are sturdy in drought. They are considered to be an annual, flower continuously from spring to autumn and are work well for patio planters, baskets and borders.

Verbena not only attracts butterflies, it’s also perfect for lavender purple cut flowers. And the best part is, the more you cut, the more it blooms throughout the summer. It grows as an annual in zones 7 to 10 and gets to be 6 feet tall.

To see more perfect plants for your pollinator garden see the full article at

Or visit the flower encyclopedia of this Larkspur, Colorado nursery

By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder.For questions, e-mail Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620 or visit