How To Invite Pollinators to Your Garden

Posted by N. Astrid Hoffman on

Inviting pollinators to your garden is not as hard as it may seem. You don’t need a large piece of land or even a  garden for that matter. Flowers and herbs in pots, containers and even windowsills can offer forage and fodder for many of our migrating and permanent pollinators.
There are many flowers and herbs that can be planted now to benefit them:
bird_in_pollinator_garden
Many of these flowers and herbs will continue to flourish and flower well into the fall.  These herbs and flowers offer pollen, nectar and even sometimes nesting material for birds, butterflies, beneficial insects and bees.
Often times perennial and wildflower seeds may not flower in the first season, but will flower the following spring. Annual flower seeds, will produce flowers within the first year and often times self seeds.
Knowing what a plant's tendencies are is important when planning your garden.  Nasturtium, for example, enjoys sprawling and taking over an area.  If you only have a small area to work with, this may not be the best choice.  Mexican Sunflower also grows into a tall beautiful plant, creating an excellent border or privacy hedge, not ideal for a small balcony garden.
There are  flowers that need a period of vernalization and are best planted in the fall.  Milkweed is an example of a flower seed that needs to be scarified prior to being planted in the spring. Understanding the planting times of what you’re interested in growing, is important to not exceed your expectations.  Milkweed should ideally be planted in the fall or spring, to coincide with Monarch southern and northern migrations and breeding patterns. 
monarch_on_milkweed
Designing and planning your garden with intention, research and thoughtfulness will result in something beautiful that can grow and evolve over time to be a permanent fixture in your home. 

Inviting pollinators to your home

provides beauty, awe and wonder

to all who witness with them.

Currently many pollinators are under a lot of environmental stress and have declining populations. Providing them with a garden can mean life or death. 

Pollinators come in a wide range of forms from the common butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to beneficial insects, moths, bats and birds.  All pollinators are needed in the garden to provide proper pollination, often only possible with their help.

Bees find sustenance on two things: nectar, which is sugar and bee’s main source of energy as well as pollen, which provides proteins and fats.

Using seeds and starts that are heirloom or non-GMO, open-pollinated (non-hybrid) and neonicotinoid-free is key in truly being able to provide the forage your are intending on creating.  Many flowers, like some sunflowers, have had their pollen bred out and will not produce the food necessary to provide sustenance for our bee allies. 

common_milkweed

When growing milkweed, understand how the evolution of the monarch takes place as well as the benefits of growing it.  Knowing what your native milkweed is, instead of just buying what is sold at the nursery will go a long way in realizing your intention of supporting Monarch populations. 

It is very important to plant locally native milkweed species.  Please learn which milkweeds are native to your region and consult this milkweed range maps from the Biota of North America Program’s (BONAP) North American Plant Atlas.

Curious to know what seeds will bring butterflies to your garden? 

Take a look at our butterfly collection here! 


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