Pollinator Plant Pop-Up

Help provide food and shelter for pollinators by planting native plants in your yard.

Beautify Your Yard and Support Pollinators

Pre-order your pollinator plants for pick-up on October 14th, 2023 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Forest Heights Community Center located at 1700 Queens Blvd, Kitchener!

This fall’s Pollinator Plant Pop-up will feature native trees and shrubs!  These plants are a great way to add structure and character to your garden, provide four-season interest, and offer birds and pollinators valuable sources of food and habitat throughout the year. 

Be sure to look at the bio for each plant to determine which ones may be right for your space and growing conditions. It is important to consider the mature size of each species before making your selection. 

A young man carrying a shrub in a black pot.

Available Species (2022)

Saskatoon berry (amelanchier alnifolia)

Purple berries
A green-leafed shrub

Mature size: 2.5 m tall x 1.5 m wide  

Description: Saskatoon berries have gray-green foliage that turns brilliant yellow-orange in the fall.  Lightly fragrant white flowers emerge in the spring, yielding sweet black-blue berries that are good for eating and making jam in the summer.  These plants tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and prefer full to part sun.   

Redbud (cercis canadensis)

Close up of red flowers on a tree
A red tree in a field
Close up of redbud leaf

Mature size: 4 m tall x 3 m wide  

Description: This multi-stemmed, clump forming shrub produces sweetpea-like red-pink flowers that bloom profusely on bare branches in early spring (April), turning into brown fruit pods in summer.  Heart-shaped green leaves turn yellow in the fall.  Redbuds tolerate a variety of soil conditions but do not tolerate wet or poorly draining soils.  They prefer part-sun, such as at the edge of a forested area or partially shielded from sun and wind by a house.   

Paw paw (asimina triloba)

A small tree
Paw paw fruit among leaves

Mature size: 6 – 8 m tall x 5 – 6 m wide  

Description: A small, low branching tree, forming a dense crown. Large, cup-shaped purple flowers emerge in spring. Unique fruits are green, aging to brown, and have the sweet flavour and fleshy consistency of a banana and can be used for ice cream or pies. Large, green leaves change to yellow in late fall. Pawpaw trees need two genetically unrelated plants to properly pollinate, so we recommend you buy at least two trees for proper pollination. Our supplier uses several seed sources to ensure genetic diversity.

Witch hazel (hamamelis virginiana)

Foliage of witch hazel
Witch hazel flowers
A witch hazel shrub in the fall

Mature size: 4 m x 4 m  

Description: Soft yellow, spidery flowers emerge in the fall.  Bright green leaves turn orange-yellow in the fall.  Witch hazel can be planted in full sun to full shade and can tolerate a wide-range of soil conditions.  

Gray dogwood (cornus racemosa)

A dogwood shrub
Close-up of dogwood leaves

Mature size: 3 m x 3 m  

Description: Panicles of white flowers in late spring give way to white berries in the fall. Young branches have grayish-red color, providing interest in the winter. Leaves turn purple in the fall.  Gray dogwoods grow well in wet soils and are excellent for stabilizing soils. Gray dogwoods tolerate a wide range of soil and light conditions.   

Chokecherry (prunus virginiana)

Close-up of chokecherry flower
A chokecherry in flower
Berries of the chokecherry tree

Mature size: 6 m tall x 5 m wide  

Description: Small, fragrant white or pink flowers emerge simultaneously with the leaves in April or May.  Red to blue to black fruit ripens in July and is a source of food for birds.  Chokecherries tolerate a wide range of soil types that are moderately well draining.   

Virgin's Bower (clematis virginiana)

A white clematis flower
Close-up of clematis foliage

Mature size: 4-6 m x 4-5 m  

Description: Small, white flowers bloom all summer long.  Leaves are bright green and can be 10 cm long.  Flowers give way to feathery seed heads.  Clematis grows best in rich, moist to average soil, in full sun, though protection from afternoon sun is recommended.  Roots need a cool environment to thrive, so mulching and/or planting a ground cover around base of plant can be beneficial.   

How to Plant and Care For Your Pollinator Plants

Your new pollinator plants should be planted as soon as possible. If there is some delay in planting, store plants in a shady, wind protected area, and keep root area evenly moist. Handle plants gently and use the container or root ball to move the plant. Never hold onto the plant itself. 

Dig your planting hole at least 5” larger than the size of the pot on all sides. The hole should roughly be the same depth as the pot, so the finished level of the plant is the same as it was grown. 

Water your plant thoroughly before removing the container. If a light tapping on the sides and bottom of the pot does not release the soil, make two cuts the length of the pot on opposite sides and gently pull away the halves. Use your fingers or a knife to gently loosen and spread exposed roots that appear crowded. 

Place the plant in the hole and fill in around it with the original soil mixed with compost or manure. Tamp the soil down with your hands so the plant is secure. Water thoroughly, then place an even 4″ layer of mulch around the plant. 

Water your plant regularly when the soil feels dry to the touch, at least 3” down into the root area. Continue this form of watering until the plant is well established and growing. 

Learn more about planting and caring for trees and shrubs

Available Species

Southern Arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum)

Mature Size: 175 cm tall x 175 cm wide
Ideal growing conditions: Prefer well-drained soil in full sun to part shade
Description: Clusters of creamy-white flowers in spring, bluish-black fruit in fall. Shiny, dark green leaves turning yellow to reddish-purple in fall. Upright, rounded, multi-stemmed habit.
Benefits: Flowers attract butterflies in spring and fruits attract birds in fall. Deer resistant & salt tolerant.

Common Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

Mature Size: 250 cm tall x 250 cm wide
Ideal growing location: Tolerates a variety of soil types, including moist soils. Prefers full sun to part-shade
Description: Fragrant white flowers in a flat-topped cluster bloom in July. Purple-black berries in early fall. Compound, medium-green leaves turn yellow in the fall. 
Benefits: Berries attract birds. Berries are edible when cooked. Fast grower.

Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)

Mature Size: 4.5 m tall x 3 m wide
Ideal growing location: Grows best in moist soils, can tolerate poorly drained soils. Prefers full sun to part shade.
Description: Silvery-grey male catkins and yellowish female. Catkins emerge in late winter or early spring on separate male and female shrubs. Bright green leaves turn pale or bright yellow in the fall. Upright, spreading crown. Prefers growing in moist soils.
Benefits: Blooms emerge early in the spring, providing valuable food source to pollinators. Helps soak up water in wet areas; good choice for a rain garden. 

Northern Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)

Mature Size: 1 m tall x 1 m wide
Ideal growing location: Grows best in well-drained soils. Prefers full sun to part shade.
Description: Yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers emerge in late spring or early summer. Glossy, reddish to dark green leaves turn to shades of yellow, orange, and red in the fall. Rounded, dense form.
Benefits: A great native alternative to other invasive honeysuckle varieties. Long blooming flowers provide food source to pollinators and dense branches provide nesting habitat for some birds.

Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum)

Mature Size: 250 cm x 250 cm  
Ideal growing location:  Grows best in well-drained soils. Prefers full sun to part shade.
Description:  Clusters of creamy-white flowers in spring. Red berries in the fall. Green leaves turn reddish-purple in the fall. Upright, multi-stemmed habit.
Benefits: Berries are attractive to birds. Fast grower.

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