How to Attract Pollinators to Your Garden

Garden plants native to your region offer pollinators an abundant supply of flowers, fruit and seeds for them to pollinate. Solitary bees (which don’t live in colonies) often prefer brightly-hued yellow, blue or white blooms for nectaring purposes.

Satisfy pollinator needs by selecting flowers that provide both pollen and nectar; stagger the bloom times throughout the season for maximum impact. Monarda and bee balm offer plenty of nectar while sunflowers and black-eyed Susans offer pollen.

Choose the Right Plants

Many plants, both vegetables and flowers, rely on pollinators to spread pollen essential for fruiting and seed production. Gardeners can aid these creatures by planting flowers that attract pollinators.1

Pollinators prefer different flowers. Bees love bright yellow and blue blooms while hummingbirds favor red, orange, pink and purple ones.

Plant a range of flower varieties that will attract various pollinators types, such as alyssum, asters, calendula, daisies, dianthus foxglove lilyturfa lobelia monarda bee balm etc. Also include night blooming four o’clocks moonflowers evening primrose to attract moths and bats.

Consider including some shrubs and perennials that provide both food and shelter, like spirea, liatris, cleome and summersweet. Also choose native over non-native plants; local species tend to support local pollinator populations more easily while being less likely to attract disease and pests.

Don’t Spray Insecticides

Insecticides don’t just kill pests – they also harm pollinators and other beneficial insects that pollinate. Instead, let nature take its course by employing integrated pest management, which monitors insects without using harmful chemicals.

Plant flowers that provide both pollen and nectar. Bees are drawn to bright white, yellow, and blue flowers with clean scents and flat or tubular shapes for easier access by bees. Hummingbirds seek out red or orange blooms with mild scents with open petals for perching while feeding on nectar from them.

Introduce plants with long stamens or night-blooming potential into your landscape to attract pollinators after dark, such as marigolds, nasturtium, yarrow and zinnias. You could also let some vegetables or herbs flower late in the season to attract bees and other pollinators; pollination will ensure plants produce seeds, fruits and vegetables for your benefit!

Create a Water Garden

Flowers such as sunflowers, zinnias and marigolds provide essential food sources for pollinators in your garden, making it easier to attract pollinators with plantings of these flowering plants in vegetable plots or at the edges of your plots.

Native flowers, wildflowers, and shrubs that grow naturally in your region have evolved alongside wildlife to provide pollinators with food sources they recognize. When selecting landscaping options to attract more local pollinators species, prioritize native varieties over non-native ones.

Pollinators don’t see very well, so grouping flowering plants together to make it easier for them to find an unmissable target is key to successful pollination. Planting in groups of three or five mimics nature’s planting style and is particularly helpful when targeting hummingbirds who tend to visit flowers in large clusters.

Pollinators need places to hide and shelter in gardens, such as unmowed grass and leaf litter areas, providing them with places where they can find peace and refuge from pollen and nectar-rich flowers. Furthermore, such spots enable bees and other insects to naturally emerge within these spaces and cohabitate within it.

Add a Birdbath

Fountains or birdbaths add beauty and attract pollinators to any garden, as well as providing pollinator habitat. Make sure it matches the style of your garden to ensure an attractive addition, such as one with a drip system that slowly replenishes the water supply to reduce evaporation and algae growth.

Alongside planting flowers, try including vegetables and herbs that will flower to attract pollinators (such as parsley, sage and oregano) as well as leaving areas of bare ground or debris as bee shelter.

Planted flowers should be in large groups to make it easier for pollinators to locate those they like; bees like flat-topped blooms that make landing easy, while butterflies prefer tubular and trumpet-shaped blooms. Be sure to include evening-blooming plants like 4 o’clocks, moonflowers and nicotiana in order to attract moths and bats as pollinators, then deadhead them as soon as they fade to encourage reblooming and extend its lifespan.

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