Plant A Winter Nectar Feast!
Pollinators need nectar year-round, plant Winter bloomers now!

Winter is Coming! While gardeners sometimes consider Winter a period of rest in the garden, that's definitely not the case for hungry pollinators. Bees, butterflies (especially Monarchs), other pollinators and beneficial insects and birds need sustenance more than ever and NOW is the time to plant nectar-rich Winter bloomers!

We asked our pal Tora Rocha, tireless pollinator advocate and founder of Oakland's Pollinator Posse for her top Winter pollinator gardening tips and best practices. Here's what she said:

1) Leave your leaves! Many Lepidoptera species roll themselves up in dead leaves to wait out the Winter and emerge in Spring. So if you have to rake, rake those leaves under shrubs and let them act as mulch for the Winter. That way you won't wipe out entire generations of butterflies and moths in your attempt to keep the garden tidy.

Abutilon 'Talini's Pink' and Nicotiana 'Lime Green'
Nectar-rich Winter-bloomers Abutilon 'Talini's Pink' and Nicotiana 'Lime Green' in the garden.

2) Keep an eye out for chrysalises while pruning. It helps to know the life cycles of your local butterflies so you know what their chrysalises look like, and if you find one on a branch you've pruned, cut away the excess and tie it to a shrub with enough leaves to protect it from the elements.

3) Protect important habitat for burrowing insects and docile ground-nesting bees by not turning over the soil around natives and placing no more than 3" of compost and mulch around plants. Keep hollows at the base of trees clear as they are another favorite nesting spot. Learn more about ground-nesting bees HERE!

4) Compost, compost, compost and make sure you plant a succession of Winter nectar plants to sustain foraging bees and butterflies until next Spring! See below for some of our favorites. See a complete list of Winter Bloomers HERE!

5) Finally and most importantly: DON'T USE PESTICIDES! Yes, we're shouting. There are plenty of safe and effective ways to manage pests and fungus without the use of harmful pesticides that poison insects and the environment. A little research into integrated pest management and natural alternatives will yield a ton of useful information.

Winter Bloomers bring all the pollinators to the yard!
Check out all our bee and butterfly beauties!

Viola odorata ‘Queen Charlotte’  Arctotis 'Pink Sugar'

Viola odorata ‘Queen Charlotte’ 
Extraordinarily scented, this sovereign of sweet violets is EASY and carefree! Ideal as a groundcover or filler for shady spots – or plant in a pot for up-close aromatherapy. Winter blooming butterfly favorite! Introduced in 1900. Hardy USDA zone 4.

Arctotis 'Pink Sugar'
Candy-colored 3" blooms YEAR ROUND are a reward for bees, butterflies and you on this tough South African native. Extremely heat and drought tolerant. Showy ever-silver leaves. Pollinators love the nectar rich flowers. Hardy USDA zone 9.

Anisodontea sp. 'Strybing Beauty' Tagetes lemmonii "Mexican Marigold"

Anisodontea sp. 'Strybing Beauty'
Do you like feeding butterflies? How about bees? NON-STOP BLOOM 12-months a year make this one of our most-reliable Winter nectar sources! One of the best pollinator shrubs we've ever seen AND it's heat and drought tolerant, easy and fast!

Tagetes lemmonii "Mexican Marigold"
Tough, adaptable and so EASY! This almost ever-blooming shrub has its most exceptional display in Winter! Try it in places where “nothing grows”. Deer resistant. Excellent Winter nectar source for many pollinators! Hardy USDA zone 8.

Salvia chiapensis “Chiapas Sage” Verbena lilacina ‘De La Mina’

Salvia chiapensis “Chiapas Sage”
We're huge fans of this Salvia because it blooms year-round here in coastal California! Easy and long lived with plentiful nectar-rich rose-fuchsia flowers on long wands. Bees, butterflies and hummers! Deer resistant. Hardy to USDA zone 8.

Verbena lilacina ‘De La Mina’
Our most floriferous CA native! Flowers almost ALL YEAR LONG with fragrant lavender blooms with little water or care once established. Adaptable to a wide range of soils, it captivates and feeds bees, butterflies and other Winter visitors. USDA zone 7!

Salvia 'Mystic Spires' Nicotiana sylvestris ‘Only the Lonely'

Salvia 'Mystic Spires'
Long-blooming and a majorly big-bang-for-the-buck, this bushy, easy-to-place 4' x 30" Sage provides an almost never-ending display Spring thru Fall! A fab nectar source for bees in the Fall and even into Winter! Hardy USDA zone 7!

Nicotiana sylvestris ‘Only the Lonely'
Stunning and statuesque! To 4-6’ tall and 2’ wide, it's one of the biggest Nicotianas you can grow! 5-6” candelabra-like sprays of sweetly scented white flowers attract pollinators. Easy cottagey focal point. Blooms year-round in temperate zones. Self-sows!

Our 2.5 acre nursery is OPEN 7 days from 9 am - 5 pm. We have implemented several important changes to keep our employees and visitors as safe as possible and our large, open-air environment allows for 6' of social distancing. VISITORS MUST WEAR A FACE MASK when entering our nursery by order of the Contra Costa Health Department.

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Annie's Annuals & Perennials
Nursery: 740 Market Ave. Richmond, CA 94801
Business Office: 801 Chesley Ave. Richmond, CA, 94801
(888) 266-4370