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Learning which plants to include in your pollinator garden design will bring your garden to life. See how to attract beneficial insects such as honey bees, bumble bees, and butterflies. Hummingbirds will also appreciate native pollinator species and other options in your plan. You’ll achieve a more bountiful harvest and bring life to the garden- literally and figuratively.

Attracting a Variety of Pollinators to Your Garden

Spending time in my garden is one of my favorite activities. It is so easy to feel connected to God when your hands are busy in the earth, working to grow wonderful, healthful things to sustain your family. And with pollinator-attracting plants, you’ll be surrounded by a plethora of little helpers who ensure you get the best harvest!

Honeybees are the best-known pollinators, but there are so many other beneficial insects that help spread pollen and make your garden fertile and fruitful! We could “bee” here all day naming all the amazing pollinators you want to see in your garden, but we’ll just concentrate on the most common and easiest to attract.

  • Honeybees, both domestic and wild
  • Bumblebees and other ground-nesting bees
  • Butterflies such as monarch butterflies and other natives
  • Hummingbirds often target showy flowers in the tropical garden

These are just a few of the many pollinators that are attracted to a number of useful and easy-to-grow flowers and herbs, making them key players in your pollinator garden but the bright-colored flowers of pollinator-friendly plants help bring them to your yard.

The Benefits of Garden Pollinators

Bees sometimes get a bad rap, but they, along with butterflies, hummingbirds, wasps, moths, birds, and other visitors who frequent your garden, really are your best friends. They aren’t just buzzing around and trying to sting you! They’re helping to spread the pollen grains that your plants produce, when they visit their food sources – the flowers. This allows your plants to develop fruit and fertile seeds.

Without the more than 200,000 species of pollinators around the world, we simply would not be able to have a garden at all! And more than that – many pollinators benefit the ecosystem as a whole. Not to mention the benefits of raw honey from one of my favorite pollinators, the honeybee.

Best Pollinator Garden Plants for Your Design

One important point in how to build a pollinator patch is understanding which flowering plants are the best choice to bring in these helpful little creatures. There are dozens upon dozens of flowers that would be a great choice to plant.

Native flowers are often best for local pollinators and will bring a large variety to the yard. Perennial flowers can be selected for long bloom times or attracting specific pollinators such as if you want to feed hummingbirds naturally. Those with bright colors, sweet smells, and abundant nectar are perfect choices to attract insects and birds. Here are a few of our favorite plants to grow when planning a pollinator garden.

What Are the Best Flowers for a Pollinator Garden Design?

  • Zinnia – These colorful flowers are simply gorgeous to the eye and do wonders to bring in bees and butterflies. Tuck these annuals into open spaces in your garden for a pop of color and to bring pollinators into the areas you want them.
  • Lantana – Lantana are a perfect choice for your pollinator garden, as they are a very versatile plant. These grow as perennials in some areas, but can also be treated as an annual in other regions, making them a great choice to tempt butterflies and bees, along with their gorgeous array of colors. Try those with white flowers, yellow flowers, or mixed colors to see a variety of pollinators.
  • Sunflowers – Bees and butterflies adore sunflowers, and so do I! Not only are they just colorful and uplifting, but they are also wonderful low-maintenance plants that you can pop in wherever you might have a bit of space. Check with your regional extension office for wild species recommendations if you want to focus on native plants.
  • Canna – The vibrant, tropical look of Canna flowers is a visually stunning addition to your garden, but the real benefit is that hummingbirds flock to these gorgeous flowers. They can be grown from a cutting or bulbs and started indoors when you have a shorter gardening season.
  • Hibiscus – Beautiful hibiscus flowers are another favorite of the hummingbird. Grow these tropical flowers as annuals or bring them inside and treat them as perennials. Not only will they help support the pollinators in your garden, but they can be used to make wonderful tea, as well!
  • Lavender – Lavender has so many amazing benefits both in the home and in the garden. Bees, in particular, love this beautiful flower. It is easy to grow in well-drained soil, without extra work in the garden!

What are the Best Pollinators for a Vegetable Garden?

The fragrance of many herbs and their sweet blooms also serve to attract pollinators to the garden in many instances. Including herbs when you create your pollinator garden design can serve double duty, not only attracting beneficial insects but are also useful in cooking and for other purposes around the home. As we put together our pollinator garden, we were sure to include these amazing herbs with bee-friendly blooms.

  • Basil – When basil reaches the point of flowering, bees and other pollinators will come flocking to the sweet little flowers. Take care not to over-harvest your basil, allowing some to go completely to flower. Allowing one or two plants to grow as annual flowers will bring the bees in droves.
  • Oregano – As oregano reaches the point of flowering, it is very appealing to bees. This favorite herb in cooking grows quickly so don’t be afraid to harvest as needed.
  • Mint – The fragrance of the mint plant is appealing to people, but also is attractive to pollinators, as well. Remember that mint tends to spread rapidly, so take care when planting. We usually grow it in pots or containers only so it doesn’t take over any available patch of soil!
  • Fennel – Swallowtail caterpillars are highly attracted to the licorice taste of the fennel plant. This is a great addition to your pollinator garden design to help support the population of butterflies in the area. Plant one for you to harvest and one to give to the caterpillars because fennel plants are absolute butterfly magnets!
  • Garlic Chives – Allow some of your garlic chives to grow to the point of flowering, as this useful herb is a favorite of bees and some butterflies. As tempting as it can be to harvest it all for your kitchen, leave some abundant blooms for your insect friends, as well!

How to Make a Pollinator Garden Successful

Building a pollinator garden design that works for you will take more than just a list of preferred plants. However, it can be as easy as any other garden space in your home. Here are some tips to help you be successful as you build your pollinator garden.

  • Select Plants for Your Growing Zone. One of the most important things to remember when learning how to build a pollinator garden is to select plants that will grow well in your area. Visit a local greenhouse or nursery for design inspiration or reach out to your county extension office to get information specific to your location.
  • Choose both Native and Non-Native Types of Plants. Be sure to include some native plants and flowers in your garden beds, in addition to the variety of plants that may be non-native species but sold in your area. Giving local insects and wildlife the plants they are instinctively drawn to will help these populations to grow and thrive.
  • Grow Plants in Drifts. When you plant to attract pollinators, plant in patches or groups instead of with single plants. This gives the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds plenty of beautiful flowers to see and zero in on. They will stick around longer and be more useful to your garden when they’re occupied with several flowers in a small area than if they have to move around to find the next nectar-filled treat.
  • Organic Gardening Only! Avoid pesticides of any kind, as these endanger the lives of the wonderful pollinators that you have managed to attract with your garden. Creating a pollinator garden design that can be maintained with organic gardening techniques is a must.

Learn more about safe organic gardening techniques that you can implement right on your porch or in your backyard in our Organic Gardening Masterclass course in our Bible Health Academy.


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