Support Your Local Pollinators: Plants for Pollinator Gardens

Pollinator gardening

Pollinators are an important part of our world. Butterflies, bees, birds, beetles, and other pollinators keep our world thriving and are a vital part of our ecosystem. So how can we support our local pollinators?

Bee landing on center of sunflower

Why not show them a little love in your yard by planting a pollinator garden? Build a habitat where pollinators can find a variety of nutritious food sources that are rich in pollen and nectar.

How can I attract pollinators to my yard?

Here are just a few ways you can help pollinators

If you want to make pollinators happy, grow flowers, and lots of them! They love the pollen and nectar of the blossoms from annuals, perennials, bushes, and trees. Bees are attracted to warm, sunny areas to harvest.

Try to mix in some flowers native to your local region, because that’s what your friends will like best. Choose flowers that emerge at different times, and there will always be food available for these friendly neighbors during the growing season.

Purple coneflowers and wildflowers

Plant native wildflowers in your garden.

One easy option for attracting pollinators is to have a wildflower garden. Wildflower mixes typically have a mix of plants appropriate to your regional conditions, with both annuals and perennials that are specifically designed to bloom all growing season. These mixes are a good variety of colors, heights, shapes, and types of flowers and will keep a diversity of pollinators buzzing and flitting through your yard from spring to fall.

How can I attract butterflies?

Butterflies often have a host plant for food and as a home. If you love monarch butterflies, plant milkweed.

Monarch butterfly on milkweed flower

Monarchs depend on milkweed as a home for their caterpillars. There's nothing like watching caterpillars grow, cocoon, and emerge as butterflies. It's even more amazing when they're in your yard because you thought to provide them an inviting home.

What about herbs?

The herb garden is another favorite pollinator hangout. Mint, basil, lemon balm, borage, chives, and more delight humans and insects alike. Parsley and oregano are both host plants for butterflies.

bee on lavender flower

And, of course, lavender is always a winner. Many different varieties of bees love this fragrant purple flower, so make sure to find the perfect spot for a few lavender plants.

How can I attract more birds?

Sunflowers, coneflowers, and hyssop are good choices for attracting birds of all sorts.

Amaranth is a grain that is beautiful and also provides a starchy seed for birds to eat.

Hummingbirds are attracted to red flowers with deep centers that have a lot of nectar. Columbines, lupines, rhododendron, catmint, and more can attract these beautiful jewels to your yard.

The list could go on and on.

yellow bird on sunflower

Check out these articles by the Oregon State University and the University of Minnesota Extension offices for more ideas. 

Written by Teresa Chandler

Growing plants that provide food and habitat for pollinators is fun. It provides hours of enjoyment. Be a good neighbor and invite them over to enjoy your flowers. You’ll love watching them flit, zoom, and buzz around your yard.

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