Planning Pollinator Gardens

Consider planning an area for pollinators and create your own buzzing paradise!

Pollinators are active from the first thaw past the first frost. Nectar rich native flowers are a quick and easy food source for your insect population. Choose wildflowers thoughtfully so that you have blossoms spring to fall. For example,

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shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia) blooms in April and is favored by bumblebees. Asters (Symphyotrichum sp.) can bloom well into November and offer an important late season stock up for migrating butterflies. Choose a variety of flower shapes to attract the most diverse array of species. Remember to add some milkweed species for monarchs, too!

A few things to consider when planning a pollinator paradise:

  • Offer sheltered spots out of harsh winds. Insects appreciate a chance to feed and drink without being buffeted.
  • Add shallow birdbaths or pans of wet sand as a water source. The surface tension of deeper water can pull an insect in to drown.
  • Many pollinator plants do best in sunny situations, but there are species that thrive in shade, too. We can help you determine what natives are best suited for your area.
  • Hang a bee hotel near your vegetable patch. Many of our native bees are solitary and rear their young in hollow stems. They are champion pollinators and will boost your vegetable crops.

There are also some other things to consider when planning your pollinator garden:

  • Tolerate plant damage. Caterpillars will eat the leaves, but usually don’t consume the whole plant.
  • Eliminate or reduce pesticides and herbicides. You don’t want to kill the pollinators you’re trying to attract. Some of our beneficial insects like lady beetles and lacewings have larvae that are top-notch predators. Let them eat the aphids for you. It may take a week or so, but they will do a great job!
  • Plant in drifts and plant different flower types. Pollinators are attracted to groupings of plants where it’s easy to feed. Different insects need different types of flowers to thrive. Bees may browse flat flowers, while butterflies prefer tubular ones.

We can all make a difference by planting for pollinators. Ready to get started? Contact us.