Have you heard of pollinator gardens? It’s just a simple garden where bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, and other animals swarm over flowers and plants to make them reproduce and grow quickly. I myself am a fan of these pollinators and I’m even dreaming of keeping a beehive in my urban garden! So I am constantly looking for ways to keep these pollinators in my garden and indeed I found some precious pearls. If you want to know how to grow pollinator garden plants, here are some of my tips!
Step 1. Plant colorful showy flowers. Bees are attracted to flowers with bright colors, particularly those in the blue violet range of the color wheel, along with white and yellow. They don’t see red but plant those if you like for the butterflies and hummingbirds. Good examples are bee balm and Russian sage
Step 2. Plant flowers that have one large blossom so that the hefty bumblebee can land on it securely. Think of sunflowers, zinnias, rudbekia.
Step 3. Plant flowers with lots of tiny blossoms for native bees that are very small. I like lamb’s ear and salvia.
Plant pollinator garden plants that have hollow stems. Many varieties of native bees are solitary and nest in holes in the ground or in hollow stems of plants. All of the brambly canes like raspberry and blackberry are wonderful choices along with many types of ornamental grasses.
Step 4. Plant types of flowers in big patches. This helps increase the bees’ foraging efficiency.
Step 5. Use low maintenance plants. The less we disturb a pollinator garden the better. This is not the place for plants that need deadheading and pruning. My favorites are bee balm, coreopsis, and many types of herbs like oregano.
Step 6. Plant for consistent bloom. As soon as bees emerge in the spring they need nectar. After the big blooming season of spring and early there can be a dearth of flowering plants. Add things that bloom in late summer and early fall. Where I live narcissus, forsythia, and apples bloom very early. My absolute favorite for late summer to early fall are garlic chives which have white blossoms and do a wonderful job of providing nectar in that late summer dearth.
Step 7. Plant flowers that have single blossoms. Many of the big showy double blossomed hybrids cultivated for enjoyment in the garden have little or no nectar for bees.
Step 8. Garden, don’t landscape. Don’t mulch or use weed barrier everywhere. 70 % of native bees nest underground.
Step 9. Don’t use chemicals even if you end up with a few weeds it’s okay, many of them are bee friendly.
Step 10. Leave stalks standing overwinter. For those bees that like to nest in hollow stemmed plants it’s important to leave them a place to hibernate and nest next spring.
In conclusion with the loss of native habitat to bees happening all over the world it is more important than ever to garden with them in mind. Then planting one or all of these plants is a great way to help them in their time of need whether you are doing it in a spacious backyard or in a container on your apartment balcony, every pollinator friendly plant matters now.
Finally Pollinator Garden plants do you choose for your garden?
Featured image from @r.e1izabeth
Michelle is a beekeeper and master gardener. She writes about beekeeping and gardening and loves to take pictures in the hives to share her love of bees with readers. She's interested in helping people reuse and upcycle objects for use in the home and garden. She never met a potting shed she didn't like. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.
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