How to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

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Creating a pollinator-friendly garden not only helps you maintain a healthy ecosystem but also provides you with gorgeous views. In order to attract beneficial pollinators, you’ll need to include a variety of plants to draw in different insects and birds.

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While gardening has always been a popular hobby, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 it has grown by leaps and bounds, with no signs of slowing. In fact, many seed companies, like Baker Creek Seeds, have seen a huge increase in demand, and many have had to shut down their sites because they simply cannot keep up with the volume of sales. Here are the top reasons many homeowners cite for starting a garden:

How to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

While fruits and vegetables are a popular choice among gardeners, growing flowers is the most popular gardening activity at nearly 73% of surveyed homeowners. However, many casual gardeners do not take pollinators into consideration when choosing their plants. Attracting wildlife such as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds not only makes your garden more visually appealing, it also helps your garden and the local ecosystem. So whether you’re planning to update a current garden or you’re starting a brand new one, here are some tips on how to attract more pollinators. The best part is that these tips work great whether you have a lot of space or you’re growing on a balcony!

Why Plant a Pollinator Garden?
How to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

You probably learned in elementary school about pollinators and how they help plants reproduce, but they also serve as an important part of a balanced ecosystem. With adequate pollination, plants:

How to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

Somewhere between 75%-95% of all flowering plants on Earth need help with pollination. For that, they need pollinators. While the No. 1 pollinator is the native honey bee, other pollinators include:

How to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

Unfortunately, pollinator populations are declining due to pollution, misuse of chemicals, disease, and changes in climate patterns. Luckily, you can help the population by creating a garden that welcomes pollinators of all kinds!

Plan Your Garden Wisely
How to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

Even if you already have started a garden, it might be time to give it another look to see if it is pollinator-friendly. While you don’t need to micromanage your garden, you should consider the following:

Consider Your Plants
How to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

While it might be tempting to go for the plants that you personally find appealing, if you want to help out the pollinators, you’ll need to do a bit more research. In most cases, you’ll want to choose native plants over exotic ones as they tend to be heartier and they will attract native pollinators. Most native pollinators require very specific plants in order to grow and thrive. For example, larvae of Persius duskywing and frosted elfin butterflies only feed on wild lupine. Unfortunately, this plant has been supplanted by another, and as such these butterflies have become critically endangered.

How to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

You’ll also want to think about where you buy your plants from. Many large garden centers treat their plants with pesticides and neonicotinoids to kill pests. Unfortunately, these chemicals can also kill or harm pollinators and can stay in the leaves and pollen of these plants for up to seven years!

How to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

Choosing what plants to grow might sound overwhelming, but your local native plant or botanical society will often sell native plants or can provide you with a list of native plants and where to buy them. They can even provide a list of plants that support native pollinators. It might cost you a bit more initially, but if you invest in perennials, you’ll only need to purchase them once as they will grow back year after year. More importantly, you’ll be able to collect seeds and plant some more for next year’s garden!

How to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

When it comes to choosing your plants, make sure to consider the following:

Make Your Garden a Haven for Pollinators
How to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

While it might take a bit more research and effort, creating a pollinator-friendly garden is well worth it. You’ll be helping out your local pollinator population and also benefiting from a beautiful garden. The most important tip, in general, is to be patient! Pollinators won’t come overnight. However, if you provide the appropriate care for your plants and choose the right plants, they will find you eventually. In the meantime, you’ll have a great view!