How to Attract Pollinators to Your Yard
When taking care of your garden, attracting pollinators may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, pollinators are critical for food production, healthy ecosystems, and the overall well-being of the environment, so gardeners must consider pollinator health! To attract pollinator populations such as insects and small mammals, keep reading to learn which perennials you can plant to support pollinators that directly benefits your garden’s health!
What is a Pollinator Garden?
A successful pollinator garden recreates an environment where pollinators feel the most at home and can survive. Providing their basic needs such as shelter, water, and native varieties of plants that they can feed off of and pollinate will keep them coming around, which will not only help protect their populations but also benefit your garden.
Some Types of Native Varieties
Native plants attract pollinators because they have evolved alongside them in their natural habitat. Pollinators are attracted to the shape, color, and scents, whereas annuals or non-native varieties won’t sustain their populations.
Some popular native varieties of plants that attract pollinators include:
- Pacific Bleeding Heart
- Common Elderberry
- Sword Fern
- Deer Fern
Non-flowering plants that are natives, such as Sword Fern and Deer Fern, don’t spread pollen; however, they can attract pollinators for shelter! For example, the Deer Fern is thick and can provide shelter from the wind, as pollinators dislike windy conditions. Pollinators such as small mammals and birds are attracted to the shelter these native plants provide in your yard. Making pollinators feel comfortable and at home is key to keeping them coming around for the long term.
Yarrow is known for attracting butterflies! It brightens the landscape with a warm glow, drawing in butterflies and other pretty pollinators. The bright yellow is a major pollinator magnet, especially in summer.
Pacific bleeding hearts attracts both bumble bees and hummingbirds. Its heart-shaped, dangling blooms have a stunning, vibrant color that pollinators can’t resist.
Common elderberries are popular among gardeners because they attract insects such as butterflies and bees and provide food for wildlife. You can plant these native plants alone, but they look fantastic when paired with elderberry plants.
Goatsbeard is a native plant that can attract all sorts of pollinators! These include bumblebees, moths, butterflies, and other insects to spread pollen to your plants. These white and feathery “beard-shaped” flowers support the spread of pollen by increasing the surface area for pollinators to pick it up.
What Elements to Include in Your Pollinator Landscape
For pollinators to survive, there are a few key elements you’ll need to incorporate into your garden. These elements will ensure they will come back and be comfortable staying for a long time, including the following:
Water Sources: Having a continuous water source means your pollinators won’t have to leave the yard to locate any. Just be sure to rotate the water or make sure it’s running so that you don’t have mosquito problems!
Native Plants: Plant a variety of native plants as mentioned above, and ensure they are in large areas, so there are many varieties to spread pollen to and from different plants! Be sure to include different types of plants, including perennials, grasses, shrubs, and wildflowers. Once these plants establish, they’ll require minimal care, which means more relaxing time for you.
Shelter: The main purpose of providing shelter is to block out wind, which can disturb many pollinators; they must have a place to stay when the weather is volatile, or they’ll look for shelter elsewhere. The shelter can be in the form of native plants, a birdhouse, or a bee hotel.
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