How to Attract Pollinators

I am sure you know what pollination is and what some of the insects are that help with this, but do we know  how to attract pollinators to our gardens?

Most insect pollinators feed on nectar and pollen. One of the obvious ways to attract them is to plant a variety of nectar producing flowers in the garden. Variety is the key and you will want to include flowers, shrubs, bushes and even perhaps a tree or two if you have enough space.

various wildflowers
Pollinator Paradise – a mixture of different wild flowers in a field.

Stagger the flowering times

Find out when the plants flower and try to plan to have flowers in your garden for most of the year. From those that flower in early spring, to those that bloom in late autumn or even in winter. Many trees and shrubs bloom in early spring when other natural food sources are still scarce. Including these in your garden will help these insects when they need it the most. Plan your other plants so that you have flowers in your garden at different times during the various seasons. In this way you will have food for your pollinators most of the year.

butterfly swallowtail on marigold
Marigold flowers are well known by organic gardeners.

Mix up the colours and smells

A variety of flowers of different colours and shapes and having different scents will help to attract a large variety of different pollinator insects. If you don’t have much space you can even plant flowers in containers on a balcony or patio, or even in window boxes. Herbs also work very well, especially those with wonderful smalls like lavender and rose geranium.

Stop using pesticides

Try to stop using pesticides completely, or at least reduce your use of them in your garden or landscape. If you have to use pesticides, make sure you use them responsibly and as sparingly as possible. You can also include plants that attract good bugs that will help to control the baddies.

Pollinators also need water

Make sure there is some clean water for your insect friends. You don’t need anything as big as a pond, but this can also work. You can use a shallow dish, bowl or birdbath. Whatever you choose, make sure that there are shallow edges where the insects can safely drink without falling in and drowning. You can do this by putting in some stones or rocks that are half covered by the water.

Dead wood makes good homes

Leave some dead tree trunks or a log or two in your garden. These will be used by certain bees that nest in wood and also by some beetles. If you think these don’t look good in your garden you can disguise them by growing ivy or other creeping plants over them.

The pollinator insects need help to survive and thrive. Every little thing you do will make a difference and will help them in some way. Even if you only have a little space with a pot of flowers, this will make a difference in their lives.