Pollinators are crucial to our ecosystem, helping to pollinate nearly 75% of the world's flowering plants and contributing to the production of one-third of the human food supply.
In recent years, the population of pollinators has been steadily declining. But studies show that even making small changes can have a big impact!
To support these hardworking creatures, it's essential to create a pollinator-friendly environment in our yards and gardens. We'll explore pollinator-friendly plants and offer tips to ensure your yard is a haven for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, birds and other essential pollinators.
Pollinator Friendly Plants: Please make sure you're planting only native plants; talk to your local nursery to find the best native plants for you. This is only a small list; there's many more!
- Coneflowers (Echinacea)
- Bee Balm (Monarda)
- Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
- Lavender (Lavandula)
- Sunflowers (Helianthus)
- Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia)
- Mint (Mentha)
- Thyme (Thymus)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
- Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
- Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
- Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Shrubs and Trees
- Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
- Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
- Crabapple (Malus)
- Serviceberry (Amelanchier)
Tips for a Pollinator-Friendly Yard
Plant in Clusters: Plant flowers and shrubs in clusters to create a more visually appealing and easily accessible food source for pollinators. Grouping plants of the same species or color can help attract more pollinators.
Choose Native Plants: Whenever possible, opt for native plants, as they are better adapted to your local environment and more likely to attract local pollinator species.
Provide a Variety of Colors and Shapes: Different pollinators are attracted to different colors and shapes of flowers. Plant a diverse array of flowering plants to accommodate the preferences of various pollinators.
Offer Blooms Throughout the Growing Season: To provide a consistent food source for pollinators, plant a mix of species that bloom at different times throughout the growing season.
Limit or Avoid Pesticides: Pesticides can be harmful to pollinators, so use them sparingly or not at all. If you must use pesticides, choose organic options and apply them in the evening when pollinators are less active. NEVER spray blooming flowers, herbs or plants.
Provide Water Sources: Pollinators need water too. Add a birdbath, shallow dish, or small pond to your yard to provide a water source for thirsty pollinators.
Create Habitat: In addition to food and water, pollinators need shelter. Provide nesting sites for bees by leaving dead trees and brush piles, or install bee hotels. Add butterfly houses or grow plants that offer shelter for butterflies, such as milkweed or tall grasses. You can even drill holes into dead trees to help make nesting sites!
Embrace Nature: Let "weeds" like dandelions grow for as long as you can before cutting them down. Dandelions are one of the earliest flowers to bloom and provide an essential source of food in early Spring for pollinators. Also, don't cut down your sunflowers at the end of the season. Birds will eat the seeds and get other essential nutrients over the winter from them.
Creating a pollinator-friendly yard is a rewarding way to support the environment while also enjoying the beauty and productivity of your garden. By incorporating pollinator-friendly plants and following these simple tips, you'll help ensure a thriving ecosystem that benefits both pollinators and humans alike. Happy gardening!