Tune into this episode of Backyard Smart to learn how to plant a pollinator garden to attract more of our pollinating pals and help your plants thrive.

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    This image shows an example of a pollinator garden. There is a lot of flowers of different colors white, yellow, red, pink, and blue.
    A pollinator garden attracts bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and other bugs and creatures.(©jcfmorata via Canva.com)

    What is a Pollinator Garden?

    As the name suggests, a pollinator garden is comprised of plants that are more likely to attract “pollinators”—such as bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and a whole slew of other beneficial bugs and creatures (even bats!)—that help transfer pollen from one flower to another. Not only do these gardens help with reviving the declining populations by providing the necessary pollen and nectar, but they also encourage pollinators to leap to other plants and flowers in your garden, helping you reap a bountiful harvest and beautiful blooms.


    This image shows an insect sucking nectar from a bright pink flower.
    Use bright and vibrant colors to attract bees and butterflies. (©Ivan Marjanovic via Canva.com)

    Tips for Choosing Pollinator Plants

    1. Go Native. The best plants to attract pollinators are those that are native to your area, because native pollinators and plants have more than likely evolved together to your local ecosystem.
    2. Use both perennials and annuals, as well as a combination of plants that bloom at different times, to optimize all-summer and early-fall pollinizing.
    3. Maximize your pollinator draw. Choose plants with blooms of different shapes and sizes. This variety encourages a wider range of pollinators to drop by your garden, as different shaped blooms require different pollination techniques. This is a good practice for guerilla gardening, too.
      • To attract more bees, the best color plants to use have bright whites, yellows, and blues.
      • To attract more butterflies, choose butterfly bushes and flowers with vibrant reds, oranges, yellows, and purples.

    This image shows a monarch butterfly sitting on a flower, sucking the nectar.
    Depending on what population you want to attract, choose either a sunny or shady spot. (©Janele Partman)

    Where to Plant a Pollinator Garden

    Given that pollinator gardens can thrive in both shady and sunny spots, your location selection is dependent on the population you want to attract. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators like the warm sun—and so do their favorite plants. It’s also best to locate your garden in an area with wind protection since most pollinators are airborne and don’t fare too well in gusty conditions. And, to further help our pollinating friends, installing a small pond or birdbath helps them grab a quick drink before they fly off to the next flower.

    Before planting, you’ll need to identify your soil type and how much sunlight your garden will receive daily, as those two factors determine what kind of plants you can grow. For help identifying your soil type, you can often send a sample to your local Department of Natural Resources for a full rundown. So, go outside, start planting, and Give Bees a Boost. Your plants will thank you for it.


    About Backyard Smart

    The more you fall in love with having a great backyard, the more you realize how much you don’t know. Exmark Backyard Smart answers the lawn-and-garden questions homeowners are looking for.

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