Creating Pollinator Gardens: Flower Fragrances to Attract Pollinators
A pollinator garden is designed using a variety of plants that produce pollen and nectar to attract insects such as bees, butterflies, and moths as well as hummingbirds and other creatures. These creatures can transfer pollen from flower to flower or within flowers. An effective pollinator garden:
- Contains a range of flower types, shapes, and sizes
- Is planted in an area that gets a lot of sun.
- Offers shelter from the cold and wind nearby
- Keeps groups of flowers of the same kind together in large drifts
- Is continuously added to and pruned so there are always flowers blooming throughout the growing season.
- Uses little or no pesticides
Having a pollinator garden can be a great way to keep bees around and continuously pollinating plants. The movement of pollen is necessary to fertilize plants, which improves the quality and quantity of vegetation. Bees are a large contributor to the ecosystem, and when they thrive, humans thrive, too.
A Pollinator Garden Provides Nectar or Pollen to a Range of Pollinating Insects
Pollinator gardens don't have to be large in order to be effective; they can thrive even on a balcony or in a small yard, as long as pollinator-friendly flowers are used. Most plants are attractive to pollinators, so you can choose from a wide variety of possibilities to perfume the air of your garden. Just be sure to avoid mint, citronella, and eucalyptus.
- How to Build a Pollinator Garden: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service created a guide to putting together a pollinator garden.
- Planting for Pollinators: Pollinator gardens are not only effective for helping pollinators thrive, but they can be great educational tools for children as well.
- Planting a Pollinator Garden: This article includes a detailed list of how to plan and build an effective pollinator garden.
- The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge: The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge is a call to action to preserve pollinators and create gardens and landscapes to help bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and more.
- Plant and Create Pollinator Habitat Gardens: Find tips for planting and creating pollinator habitat gardens that include food, water, shelter, and a safe haven for these creatures.
A Pollinator Garden Contains a Range of Flower Types, Shapes, and Sizes
For those looking to start a pollinator garden, keep in mind that many pollinators are only drawn to flowers that are particular shapes or sizes. Support pollinator diversity by planting a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors of flowers that cater to different insects.
- Plants for Pollinator Gardens: This article contains a list of plants that butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, and hummingbirds enjoy and when to plant them.
- Pollinator Garden Plants and Practices: The United States includes many different types of habitats, so pollinators may have different needs depending on the region where you live.
- Pollinators and the Scents They Like: This page includes a description of what the different pollinators are and some of the native plants that can be used to attract them.
- Pollinator-Friendly Native Plant List: See what plants are native to different regions to help determine what to plant in your pollinator garden.
- Planting Guides: This page offers free maps and guides for plants to grow in different locations in the United States or Canada.
A Pollinator Garden Should Be Planted in an Area That's Sunny and Safe
The warmth from the sun is a necessary component for pollinator gardens because it helps insects stay active, especially in dull and rainier climates. It's also important to have shelter nearby where bees and other pollinators can take refuge from the wind and cold.
- How Does the Sun Help Plants Grow? There are multiple answers to this question, all of which are important to understanding why sunlight is necessary for a garden.
- Why Do Plants Need the Sun? This page features a longer definition of how the process works as well as a short, easy-to-follow answer.
- A Gardener's Guide to Sun Exposure: A gardener breaks down the different labels commonly seen on seed packets and nursery plants.
- Do Plants Really Need Six Hours of Sun Per Day? This article explains why the sun is important for plants and what a lack of light could do to a garden.
- The Power of the Sun: This resource is aimed toward children, but it can be helpful for anybody who wants a greater understanding of why the sun is important.
A Pollinator Garden Should Keep Groups of Flowers of the Same Kind in Large Drifts
Keeping flowers of the same type close together makes it easier for insects to detect the perfume of their favorite plants and find where they are to pollinate them.
- Arrange Plants in Your Garden: This page suggests three different ways to keep flowers together while making the garden eye-catching.
- Drift and Detail Plantings in Garden Design: Creating a drift in a pollinator garden doesn't have to be difficult. This easy-to-follow guide explains what drifts are and how to select plants and lay them out.
- A Guide to Drift Planting: This guide covers how many varieties of flowers should be planted, the benefits of drifting, and some tips and recommendations.
A Pollinator Gardener Should Plan to Continuously Update the Plants Throughout the Season
Some climates experience long growing seasons, and some types of pollinating insects breed several times during the season. In order for these pollinators to do this successfully, it's important for them to get the pollen and nectar they need throughout the season.
- Plant a Pollinator Paradise: This page offers an overview of how to create a pollinator garden.
- Garden Guidance: Turn Your Yard Into a Perfumed Pollinator Paradise: Find a list of tips and tricks to make a pollinator garden effective.
- Plant Hardiness Zones: Not every plant thrives in every climate. Find out which plants are suited to different climates with this plant hardiness guide.
- How to Grow a Successful Garden: If you're new to gardening and don't know where to start, here are a few tips and tricks for creating a successful flower garden.
- How to Plant Perennials: Perennials are the backbone of most gardens because they can be planted whenever the soil is workable, so new flowers can be planted at almost any time of year.
A Pollinator Garden Should Limit or Avoid Pesticides
Pollinator gardens are supposed to be safe havens for pollinators, and the use of pesticides can severely harm them. If pests such as aphids become a problem in the garden, try using organic methods to control them. However, in gardens that are nature-friendly, pests are usually taken care of by birds and other natural predators.
- Natural and Homemade Insecticides: Don't pay for insecticides; there are plenty of natural options available that may be right in your home.
- Protecting Bees From Pesticides: Bees are an important part of the ecosystem, but they're just as vulnerable to pesticides as any other insect, which is why it's important to reduce pesticide use to help save the bees.
- Toxicity of Pesticides to Pollinators: There many ways that bees and other pollinators can be harmed by pesticides.
- Understanding How Pesticide Exposure Affects Honeybee Colonies: Researchers have studied the correlation between bee strength and pesticide exposure and how prolonged pesticide exposure can hurt bees and the ecosystem.
- Environmental Impact of Pesticides: Pesticides may seem like a good idea to keep unwanted aphids off of plants, but this comes at a severe environmental cost, which is why gardeners should consider making the switch to natural pesticide options.
No matter how big or small your space is, follow these tips to create a pollinator-friendly landscape:
- Use a wide variety of native blooming flowers throughout the season. Large clumps of flowering flowers native to your region help pollinators find and use them, and native plants are easier to grow because they have adapted to the local climate, soil, and pollinators. Don't forget that some flowers bloom at night and can support moths and bats, so they can be great additions to a pollinator garden.
- Avoid hybrid or "doubled" flowers. Modern plant breeders have essentially left the pollen, nectar, and fragrance out of modern hybridized plants in order to create the most beautiful blooms.
- Eliminate pesticides. For those who feel they must use pesticides in their pollinator garden, do your research to ensure that the least-toxic material is used. Take the time to read the labels before purchasing pesticides, as many of them are especially dangerous for bees. When using a pesticide, spray at night when bees and most other pollinators aren't active.
- Include larval host plants in the pollinator garden. Colorful butterflies comes from caterpillars, so those creating a pollinator garden should get used to unsightly leaf damage, as it means the caterpillars are eating them. Not every plant in the garden is going to be ornamental; some of them have to be useful in order to attract butterflies.
- Create a damp salt lick for the pollinators. Using whatever means available, create a damp area of soil near the garden. Add a small bit of sea salt or wood ashes into the mud and mix it well.
- Don't cull dead limbs. While it may be unsightly, leaving the occasional dead limb on a dead or dying tree can provide nesting sites for native bees. Bee condos can also be constructed by drilling holes varying from 3 to 5 inches deep in a scrap lumber piece on a post. Make sure that whatever you use isn't a hazard for people walking past it.
- Add nectar sources with a hummingbird feeder. Make artificial nectar using four parts water and one part table sugar and use it to fill a red hummingbird feeder. Never use artificial sweeteners, honey, or juice, and ensure that there's no mold in the feeder by cleaning it at least twice a week with hot, soapy water.
- Butterflies need other sustenance, too. Butterflies are attracted to unsavory things like animal droppings, urine, and rotting fruit. Set out a plate of slices of overripe bananas, oranges, or other fruits and butterflies should soon arrive to investigate the scent.
- Do research! Buy or read up about different pollinators local to the climate to ensure that the garden setup is effective and continue making improvements.