Arboretum’s pollinator plant sale this Saturday

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 15, 2018

By Patricia R. Drackett, Director and Assistant Extension Professor of Landscape Architecture
The Crosby Arboretum, Mississippi State University Extension Service

The Crosby Arboretum is pleased to announce we are piloting a new native plant sale this month. This Saturday, August 18th we will host a one day sale featuring perennial pollinator plants for your yard and garden.

A list of available plants has been posted on our Facebook page, and includes Rudbeckia, Pink Muhly Grass, Liatris, Elderberry, Coreopsis, and Stokes Aster.

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We will also be offering Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), a plant that is currently in high demand. This species of milkweed is a host for the Monarch butterfly, and is a great performer for our area. Swamp Milkweed grows in both moist soils as well as in a regular garden bed.

Our Pollinator Garden at the Arboretum is so beautiful right now. When you visit, come by and take a look at the many blooming plants attracting bees and other pollinators.

Next time you enjoy a meal, be grateful for pollinators! Approximately three-fourths of the world’s crops depend on pollinators, such as birds, bats, and butterflies. Did you know that bees are responsible for pollinating more plants than any other animal?

Over the last decade, native bee populations have been experiencing declines. If you’re a gardener, you’ve most likely seen recent articles urging gardeners to help boost bee populations by including certain plants in their home gardens to provide nectar sources.

One informative publication specific to Mississippi is available from the Extension Service, called, “Gardening for Beneficial Bees in Mississippi” (No. 2976). The document provides a wealth of information on how to design gardens to attract these pollinating insects.

This publication is available to view or to download at, and covers topics such as the times of the year when bee foraging is heaviest, why flower shape matters, tips on planting in masses and providing water and housing sources. Lists of plants that will attract bees are included in the publication.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) is a native perennial for pollinators that is long-blooming and low-maintenance. Rudbeckia is a durable native that is at home in meadow gardens, where it will provide nectar for butterflies and seeds for overwintering birds.

Feathery purple-pink spikes of Muhly Grass appear in October and will make a strong statement in your landscape. This grass grows in dry, sandy sites as well as in wet savannas and is a great choice for a site with poor soils or a xeriscape garden. Deer seldom bother this plant, and it is also tolerant of seaside locations.

If you want your yard to look like it was designed by a landscape architect, just use a combination of a grass such as native Muhly Grass, along with a flat-topped flower such as Echinacea or Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan). Throw in some spikey blooms such as native Liatris, and you’re reaelly in business!

We look forward to seeing you at our pollinator plant sale this weekend! Plant quantities are limited, so please come early. No plants will be sold before the sale, and no plants may be reserved. The sale will begin at 8:00 AM for members and 9:00 AM for the General Public.

Currently, Crosby Arboretum memberships are half price, so if you’d like to get in early on Saturday you may join as a member. One of the many benefits of an Arboretum membership is the opportunity for you to visit over 300 U.S. public gardens for free or reduced admission through the American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program.

We also have a limited supply of woody plants in stock available for purchase at any time during regular operating hours (Wednesday through Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. These include Swamp Red Maple, Sweet Bay, Red Bay,Tulip Tree (Yellow Poplar, Black Cherry, Swamp Titi, Fetterbush, Farkleberry, Buttonbush and Spruce Pine.

Please mark your calendar for our big Fall Native Woody Plant Sale on October 5-6 (Friday and Saturday). Saturday activities will include a floral design workshop with horticulture professor Dr. James Delprince You may comment on our Facebook page with the shrubs and trees you would be interested in, and we will see if we can locate them.

A summer native plant field walk will be held Saturday, August 25, from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Call 601-799-2311 to sign up for this program and reserve your place.

For more information on our activities and visiting the Crosby Arboretum, see our Facebook page or website ( We’re located at 370 Ridge Road in Picayune, I-59 Exit 4, at 370 Ridge Road (south of Walmart and adjacent to I-59).