Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden: The Best Plants for Supporting Bees, Butterflies, and More
By Jon Whitinger
Last Updated - 9/28/2023
Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds play a critical role in maintaining healthy ecosystems and sustaining agricultural productivity. Attracting these essential creatures to your garden not only benefits the environment but also enhances the beauty and productivity of your outdoor space. Here we will explore the best plants for attracting pollinators and discuss how to create a pollinator-friendly garden.
1. Plant a Variety of Flowers
Planting a diverse array of flowering plants is crucial to supporting a healthy pollinator population. Different pollinators have unique preferences when it comes to flower shapes, colors, and scents. Diversity is important: by providing a wide variety of options, you will attract a broader range of pollinators to your garden. Some excellent and popular choices for pollinator-friendly flowers include Coneflowers, Bee Balm, Lavender, and Black-Eyed Susans.
2. Choose Plants Native to Your Area
Native plants are generally better adapted to your local environment and are more likely to attract native pollinators. These plants typically require less maintenance and tend to be more resistant to pests and diseases. Research native plants in your region and incorporate them into your garden design. Examples of American native plants that are attractive to pollinators include milkweed (for monarch butterflies), goldenrod, and aster.
3. Select Flowers with Different Blooming Periods
To provide a consistent food source for pollinators, it's important to have plants that bloom at different times throughout the growing season. This ensures that there are always flowers available for pollinators to visit. Plan your garden so that there are flowers in bloom from early spring to late fall. For instance, crocuses and snowdrops can provide early nectar sources, while asters and goldenrods will continue to bloom into the fall.
4. Incorporate Herbs and Vegetables
In addition to flowers, many herbs and vegetables are also attractive to pollinators. These plants provide additional food sources and a habitat for pollinators while also serving a practical purpose in your garden. Some popular herbs and vegetables for attracting pollinators include basil, oregano, and chives.
5. Plant in Clusters
Pollinators are more likely to visit your garden if you plant flowers in large, colorful clusters. This makes it easier for them to locate the plants and move efficiently between flowers. This also increases the chances of successful pollination. Design your garden so that similar flowers are grouped together in eye-catching displays.
6. Opt for a Bee & Pollinator Mix
To simplify the process of creating a pollinator-friendly garden, consider using a pre-mixed seed blend designed to attract bees and other pollinators. The Bee & Pollinator Mix we offer is an excellent option. It contains a diverse selection of flowering plants that provide essential nectar and pollen sources for pollinators. This mix takes the guesswork out of choosing the right plants and ensures a vibrant, pollinator-attracting garden.
7. Avoid Pesticides
Chemical pesticides can be harmful to pollinators, so it's crucial to minimize their use in your garden. Instead, opt for organic pest control methods, such as introducing beneficial insects, and using natural repellents. Read our companion planting article to learn more about introducing beneficial insects to your garden. By reducing pesticide exposure, you will create a safer environment for pollinators to visit and thrive.