My Favorite Pollinator Flowers for Late Summer/Early Autumn

These are the plants in my garden that are simply covered with pollinators right now. Most of these flowers have been blooming for a month, or even longer, and will continue to bloom well in to the Fall. My bees are going crazy in these flowers, but many of these also attract butterflies. In Northern California, very little blooms at this time of year - often this is our driest period, even in a non-drought year. So not only do these flowers make our yard look beautiful at a time when not much else is blooming, they also feed the insects, which is a powerful argument on its own for planting these. I've put them in no particular order. Some are part-shade, but most are in full sun. They do get supplemental water from us, but very little. Our temperatures range from mid-50's at night to over 100 during the day, so they also do well in extreme temperature swings. Again, it is quite dry.

This is the one flower I can't identify for you. I didn't keep the tag,
and I can't figure out if it's a fuchsia, salvia, or agastache. It's covered
with bees each day, and if I ever find it again, I'm buying out the supply.

California Aster (Symphotrichum chilense). Drought-tolerant.

California Sunflower (Helianthus californicus). Drought-tolerant.

Herbs of all kinds. At the moment, I have thyme, sage,
marjoram, oregano, and these chives blooming.

Coneflower of all kinds (Echinacea). I have found these
hard to grow from seed and have had to buy starts

Cosmos of all kinds - this is 'sonata' - easy to grow from seed

Saltmarsh Fleabane (Pluchea odorata) - more for butterflies than bees.

California fuschia (Epilobium canum) - I grow this from starts,
but it spreads freely. Drought-tolerant.

Galliardia of any kind - I've had trouble with seed and use starts
(also called Blanketflower)

Hairy Gumplant (Grindelia hirsutula) - this has taken over
our woodland garden and the bees are nuts for it. I got starts
at the Watershed Nursery in Richmond along with many of
the plants on this list. Drought-tolerant.

Lavender of all kinds - this is French lavender (Lavandula dentate).

Salvia 'purple majesty' - this one is also a magnet for Carpenter bees.
Drought-tolerant. Dies back completely at frost but returns in Spring.

Scabiosa of any kind (or Pincushion flower)

Bluebeard Spirea (Caryopteris x clandonesnsis) - this
is not a true spirea, apparently, but this blooms for months
and really attracts the honeybees. Drought-tolerant.

Sunflowers of any kind. I think this one, just about to open,
is particularly beautiful!

Tithonia 'Torch'  - I've already sung the praises of this
flower many times - attracts every pollinator, from
native bees to honey bees to butterflies to hummingbirds.
Easy to grow from seed.

Zinnias of any kind - all are attractive to pollinators and
easy to grow from seed.

Gaura - this one is 'whirling butterflies' - it's in a neighbor's
yard and is simply covered with our honeybees every morning.
Drought-tolerant. Will die back in Winter but re-appear in Spring.
EDIT: Just a note that 'drought-tolerant' doesn't mean NO water. Some things will do ok with no water at all in the summer, such as Manzanita, Toyon, or Ceonothus. But those are Spring-blooming, after the winter rains. Most DT plants need water to get established, then less water than conventional flowers. We tend to plant most of our native, DT plants in Autumn, before the winter rains come. That gives them plenty of water to start.

Don't forget that honeybees (and native bees too) love the Autumn vegetables in the garden, particularly squash and melon blossoms, so feel free to plant those, too!