How to Create a Pollinator Garden

September 14, 2021

When it comes to healthy habitats and plant growth, pollinators are essential. Bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and more all help plants, vegetables, and more grow. Plus, they can be a lot of fun to watch and help your garden become a lively, lovely space. Here’s how to create a pollinator garden:

1. Think About the Pollinators You Want to Attract

Different pollinators are attracted by different things. Although you will probably attract some no matter what you plant, you’ll have far more luck if you plant some pollinator-friendly favorites.

For example, butterflies and other pollinators like flowers where they can bask in the sun while moths and bats prefer night-blooming flowers. If butterflies are your goal, then flowers and plants that thrive in full or partial sun are a good choice for attracting the pollinators you want.

2. Choose the Location

Identifying soil, types of plants, choosing the location, and more are all part of how to start a garden. It’s just as important for a pollinator garden. Once you have an idea of what types of plants the pollinators you want to attract like most, then you have a better idea of what type of soil and amount of light those plants need.

All of this can help you determine where you will put pots of plants, a container for a garden, or the garden plot. You will also want to consider other structures you have in your backyard and how the garden might relate to them. For example, if you have a pool, you may not want to put a garden nearby that will attract insects and affect your use of the pool or create more pool maintenance. Making the wrong landscaping choices is one of the swimming pool design mistakes to avoid, so this is something you want to think about. 

If you want a garden in your backyard, you’ll need to do some soil testing and possibly add nutrients for your pollinator-friendly plants to thrive. If you find out your soil is not suitable, a container garden with store-bought soil and mulch can be a good option.

3. Pick Your Plants

As you determine things like the pollinators you want in your garden, the location, etc, you will also be able to narrow down the types of plants you’re looking for. When you know you need flowers that thrive in full or partial sun, you have a place to start for picking specific species of plants.

From there, you can start picking up the plants you need or seeds for the plants you want to grow. Whether you opt for seeds or starter plants depends on your timeline, budget, and preference. If you have a lot of experience with gardening and have started early, you may prefer seeds. If you’re newer to gardening or are already into the growing season, you might feel more comfortable starting with small plants.

4. Opt for a Variety With Staggered Blooms

One of the tips to create a pollinator garden is to opt for a variety of plants that bloom from early spring into late fall. The variety will attract various species of the pollinators you want and the staggered blooms will ensure there are new plants to visit throughout the entire season.

5. Avoid Modern Hybrids and Stick to Native Species

To attract native pollinators and also to protect native species, it’s important to choose native plants for your region. Native plants are adapted to your local climate, usual soil, and are also suited to the native pollinators in your area. There are several plants to never grow in your yard and non-native, invasive species are usually on the list.

Another tip for creating a pollinator-friendly garden is to avoid some of the modern hybrid flowers. In the quest for perfect blooms and doubled flowers, some of these hybrids have bred out the fragrance, nectar, and pollen that are so beneficial for pollinators. This is not the case all the time, but it is something to be aware of and to look into if you are considering a modern hybrid plant species.

6. Prep Your Garden and Start Planting

With your plants identified and picked out, you can prep your garden and get the soil ready for planting. Loosening the soil, adding nutrients, and other spring planting tips can help you start your garden off right.

Then, you can plant your seeds or the starter plants. By planting in clumps, you can help pollinators find them better. After that, it’s just a matter of regular maintenance, care, and patience. Soon enough, you should start to see pollinators visiting your garden.

These are just a few tips on how to create a pollinator garden around your home. Whether it’s a dedicated garden in the yard or a few containers on a patio, you can have some plants to brighten up your space and provide a safe place for pollinators.