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Fact Sheet Cover Crop & Pollinators

Fact Sheet

Cover Crop & Pollinators

Cover crops can have beneficial effects for pollinators. The chart below list the Insectary and Pollinator
Friendly Cover Crops for Illinois. The full description can be found in the Biology Technical Note 23 in the Illinois
NRCS Field Office Tech Guide.

Insectary and Pollinator Friendly Cover Crops for Illinois
(Insectary plantings attract beneficial insects for biological control of crop pests when planted adjacent to crop fields)

Common Name Bloom Period Flower Color *Height Mature (feet) Light Needs *Drought Tolerance
Borage early blue 1.5 sun low
Canola early yellow 1 sun low
Buckwheat mid to late white 1.5 sun moderate
White Lupine early to mid blue or white 5 sun low
Alfalfa mid purple 1.5 sun moderate
Sweet clover mid to late yellow 5 sun moderate
Phacelia early purple 3 sun to shade moderate
Dakin radish early to mid white 2 sun moderate
Alsike clover early to mid yellow 2 sun low
Crimson clover early red 3 sun low
White clover mid white   sun to part shade low
Purple vetch early to mid purple 1.5 sun to part shade low
Fava bean early to mid white 4 sun low
Hairy vetch early blue 1 sun to part shade low

Biology Technical Note 23 provides information on how to plan for, protect, and create habitat for
pollinators in agricultural settings. Pollinators are an integral part of our environment and our agricultural
systems; they are important in 35% of global crop production. Animal pollinators include bees, butterflies,
moths, wasps, flies, beetles, ants, bats and hummingbirds. This technical note focuses on native bees,
the most important pollinators in temperate North America, but also addresses the habitat needs of
butterflies and, to a lesser degree, other beneficial insects.

To find the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide, go to and select eFOTG on
the right column.

June 2012

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Download Printable Fact Sheet

A Printed Version of this fact sheet is available in Adobe Acrobat.

Name Fact Sheet
Cover Crop for Pollinators (PDF, 148 kb)