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6 Things You Can Do to Make Your Garden Pollinator-Friendly

Butterflies resting on wildflowers in a field.

Bees and butterflies need our help, and the best way you can assist them is by creating a pollinator-friendly yard for them. While the plants you grow in your garden are essential, there’s even more you can do!

Select a Wide Variety of Flowers

Yes, we just stated there’s more to helping bees and butterflies than plants, but they do love flowers. Seriously, the more flowers you have, the better!

You can start with these five plants, but you’ll want to get more. Here are some other flowery things to consider when it comes to planting a pollinator-friendly yard:

  • Integrate various types of plants, so you have some in bloom from the beginning of spring to the end of autumn.
  • Pick native plants that do well in your particular climate.
  • Plant clumps of flowers, so your beds are fuller and easier for pollinators to find.
  • Plant night-blooming flowers for moths and bats—they’re pollinators, too.
  • Hummingbirds are also pollinators, and they’re attracted to bright flowers (especially red ones).
  • Pass on hybrid flowers, which don’t always have pollen or nectar.
  • Make sure you include plants that the larva (caterpillars) can eat.
  • Sun- and wildflowers are also great to include in your pollinator garden.

Avoid Using Pesticides

Pesticides are detrimental to insects, so you want to avoid them if you can. They might even be part of the reason the honeybees are dying off. If you have to use a pesticide, pick the one that’s the least toxic and use it at night when most pollinators aren’t active.

Insecticides should be totally avoided. There are natural ways you can deter other bugs from chewing up your garden if you’re having a problem with them.

Don’t Weed So Much

Many plants we consider to be weeds aren’t weeds at all! Dandelions, for example, are important for pollinators, and they’re one of the most hated weeds in many yards. Clover is another excellent plant for bees that often gets cut down if you mow too often.

Cut back on weeding flower beds, mow after your grass begins to seed, and consider giving up the grass. If there are no rules against it where you live, you can turn your entire yard into a pollinator garden by replacing your grass with clover or wildflowers.

Leave Homes for Bees

Give bees a home in your yard, so they stick around. By creating safe havens for them, you offer a hibernation spot for the queen bee, as well as helping to keep the population alive.

Dead trees make great homes for birds and bees, as long as it isn’t a hazard to your home or others. You can also use scrap wood to create bee houses for your yard.

Attract with Nectar and Other “Foods”

Hummingbirds and bees are both attracted to hummingbird feeders. You can make artificial nectar using four parts of water mixed with one part of table sugar. Pick a red feeder so you can attract them without adding food coloring to the false nectar.

You can also use this nectar mix on clean, bright-colored sponges and place them in flower-shaped dishes.

Butterflies enjoy more than the sweetness of flower nectar. You can attract them to your yard with things like rotting fruit and animal droppings, too.

Start Studying Pollinators

If you want to do the best for the pollinators that visit your yard, do a bit of research. Learn about the bees and butterflies in your area, what they’re attracted to, and which plants will grow best in your yard.

Wikipedia has an excellent starter-list, but there are many other resources where you can discover which butterflies you want to attract and even how to distinguish bees from wasps.

This is a great time to check out the extension offices of local universities and get some helpful tips about gardening and animal husbandry. They also usually have excellent resources about native plants, as well as more tips and tricks to encourage local pollinators to set up shop in your yard.

Not only are pollinators important to the environment, but butterflies and moths are also beautiful to look at. If you implement these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy watching all of those bright colors fluttering around your backyard.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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