Plant Different Shapes, Sizes, and Colors of Flowers

Cardinal flower is a favorite native flower of hummingbirds. However, it is useless to bees because they can’t reach the nectar located at the bottom of the flower tube. Photo credit: Bill Buchanan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, public domain

Different species of pollinators are attracted to different shapes, sizes, and colors of flowers. For example, hummingbirds love red flowers with long narrow flower tubes. However, many bees don’t see the color red and don’t have long enough proboscises (tongues) to reach nectar at the bottom of a long narrow flower tube. Planning your landscape so you have flowers of many different shapes, sizes, and colors will attract the largest diversity of pollinators.

The shape of the flower on purple coneflowers provides a sturdy landing platform for bees and butterflies. Photo credit: ForestWander, CC-by-sa 3.0

This article was part of Shannon’s original Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife blog which evolved into the blog for Backyard Ecology.

Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.