Did you know that pollinators are the engine that runs healthy habitats? If you want a healthy garden, flowerbed or lawn, you need pollinators in your yard. In the past several decades, the numbers of pollinators such as native bees, butterflies and other insects have been declining. But no pollinators mean no food. That’s why it is important to supply these insects with the necessary pollinator-friendly plants they need to survive. If you’re interested in creating your own pollinator garden, here are some tips.
- Select Native Plants
Native plants are the ideal choice because they require less maintenance and tend to be hardier. It’s essential to choose plants that have not been treated with pesticides, insecticides, or neonicotinoids. You’ll also want to focus on selecting perennials to ensure your plants come back each year and don’t require a lot of maintenance as pollinators need nectar early in the spring, throughout the summer and even into the fall. Therefore, choosing plants that bloom at different times will help you create a bright and colorful garden that both you and pollinators will love. Some plants to consider are dogwood, blueberry, cherry, plum, willow, and poplar.
- Plant in Clusters
Once you’ve chosen your native plants, make sure to plant them in clusters to create a “target” for insects to find. This cluster can be a window box, a raised garden, around a tree, or along the roadside. Just be sure to plant in areas that aren’t windy and offer at least four to five hours of sunlight per day.
- Leave Small Areas for Wildflowers and Weeds
These wild plants are perfect for insects. One idea to consider is planting a pollinator strip as a border to a vegetable garden or a wildflower border along the edge of your field. You’ll improve the pollination of your crops and also support bees when the crops stop blooming. It will also attract and support other pollinators, such as hoverflies and wasps.
- Cut down on water use
Monitoring your water use is a very important part of a pollination-friendly landscape. To avoid wasting water, put your sprinklers on timers or install a drip irrigation system. You can also use organic mulches such as compost and bark mulch to help slow water absorption, ensuring that more moisture goes into the soil instead of running straight off.
So Much More Than Bees!
If done correctly, your garden will attract more than just bees! It could also draw butterflies and flies, which are two other major pollinators.
You don’t need to own several acres of land to create a pollinator garden. Homeowners can have a powerful impact just by planting native flowers, trees, and pollinator host plants to create a refuge.