5 SIMPLE TIPS FOR STARTING A POLLINATOR GARDEN

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Learn how you can play a supporting role in reviving the pollinator population. Here are 5 great tips I just read on GardenDesign.com which will show you how to start a pollinator garden. Even if it’s just one container — every flower counts! When selecting plants for your pollinator garden, skip imported, hybrid, and double-flowered varieties and choose native flowering plants instead, especially those adapted to your local climate and soil conditions which attract both bees and butterflies as well as other beneficial insects.

For more options, download a pollinator plant list specifically for your region from The Xerces Society.  Discover perennials that attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects HERE.

5 TIPS FOR STARTING A POLLINATOR GARDEN

  1. Go native: Native plants are more attractive to local pollinators than imported or hybridized plants because they have co-evolved and their lifecycles are in sync. Native plants are also easier to establish and will not require the use of pesticides. If you can only find a cultivated variety, choose one closest to the natural form of the native plant. Visit PlantNative to find regional directories of native plant nurseries.

2. Extend the feast: Use a combination of plants that will bloom from early spring to fall. Providing a consistent food source will keep pollinators returning to your garden all season long.

 3. Add variety: Include a diverse array of flower colors, fragrances, heights, and shapes to attract different pollinator species. Bees, for example, have a preference for flowers in shades of blue, purple, white, and yellow. Butterflies are drawn to red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple blooms. Arrange your plants into groups of each species. Flowers planted in masses will lure in more pollinators than a scattering of individual plants throughout the garden.

4. Keep them energized: Collecting nectar and spreading pollen is arduous work. Locate your pollinator patch in a spot that gets ample sunlight, since many pollinators are energized by the warmth of the sun. Also provide rocks to serve as warming and resting spots and shallow, slope-sided containers of water for drinking.

5. Provide safe havens: Encourage pollinators to visit your garden by providing natural or man-made nesting sites, recommends the Penn State Center for Pollinator Research. Bumblebees and many solitary bees nest in the ground and need open patches of bare soil. Dead wood, such as hollow logs and tree stumps, provide nesting areas and shelter for bees, wasps, and beetles. Bee and insect houses also provide nesting sites and can be purchased; or you can build your own by either drilling holes approximately ¼ inch in diameter and 3 inches deep into blocks of untreated wood or using pre-made nesting tubes.

** This article is reposted via GardenDesign.com