As some insects are still out foraging in late-summer, it's a good idea to provide food for them with nectar-rich, late-flowering plants.

In late-summer, many plants have finished flowering, but bees, butterflies and hoverflies are still on the wing, foraging for food. Nectar provides insects with energy to fly and builds them up for winter hibernation. By growing just one source of nectar-rich food, you can improve these insects' chances of surviving the cold months.

Insects you'll attract to your garden include buff-tailed and common carder bumblebees, honeybees, hoverflies, comma, painted lady, small tortoishell, speckled wood butterflies and the angel shades, dart and brimstone moths. Some will still be found foraging on flowers in November, while - in the south of the UK - some buff-tailed bumblebee colonies will remain on the wing throughout winter.

Verbena bonariensis

A tall, delicate plant with a long flowering season, particularly attractive to butterflies and moths. If left to seed, it will naturalise all over the garden.

Ivy, Hedera helix

This climbing evergreen provides a supply of nectar and pollen until late November. Holly blue caterpillars also feed on its leaves, while many other insects hibernate in its foliage.


Late-flowering buddleja supplies insects with nectar when others have finished flowering. Pollinators attracted to its blooms include bees, moths and hoverflies.


Many hebe cultivars flower from late summer to autumn, attracting bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies.

Sedum spectabile

A trusty, late-flowering favourite. The plant's pink flowers make the perfect landing pad for pollinators such as butterflies, moths, bumblebees and honeybees.

Michaelmas daisy Aster novi-belgii

Named after the feast of Michaelmas, which falls near the autumn equinox, Aster novi-belgii flowers will attract butterflies, moths, bumblebees, honeybees and hoverflies.

Discuss this plant feature

Talkback: Late-summer-nectar
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

andieonlyuk@hotmail. 01/08/2013 at 16:36

Have some Marjoram flowering which bees seem to love! :-)

waterbutts 01/08/2013 at 18:13

And the honey is something else, too!