How to Create a Pollinator Paradise
Why not invite those insects or animals that move pollen—from one flower to the next—to your garden? Bats, bees, butterflies, small mammals, moths, birds, flies, and beetles all pollinate. Flowers are designed to attract pollinators with their bright colors and enticing fragrance. The result is more flowers and garden edibles to harvest and, in return, pollinators happily feed on the nectar and pollen.
Plant many different flowers for blooms all year
The best way to make your garden a welcoming place is plant flowers that bloom throughout the year. Different species are attracted to different flower types, and having a wide selection of flowers which bloom during each season will ensure that they don’t go hungry.
Plant a variety of color
It’s easier to draw passing pollinators into your garden with pollinator-attracting perennials in groups of similar colors.
- Bees are drawn to yellow, blue and purple.
Fun fact: bees see in a spectrum of light—ultraviolet—that’s invisible to us. Many flowers have ultraviolet markings called “nectar guides” which draw bees directly to the pollen and nectar of a flower.
- Butterflies prefer flat-topped “cluster” type flowers in red, orange, yellow, pink and blue.
- Hummingbirds enjoy tube or funnel shaped flowers in shades of orange, red, violet and pink.
Entice with fragrance
Fragrance draws pollinators to flowers, so seek fragrant flowers when planning your pollinator garden. Herbs like lavender, sage, basil and oregano contain fragrant oils, so their nectar is especially delicious.
Know your natives
Consider catering to the locals. There are approximately 1,500 species of bees and 200 species of butterflies that are native to California. Native pollinators are most attracted to the plants with which they co-evolved. And, native plants are well adapted to our climate, making them a sustainable choice.
Provide a place to nest and rest
Many species of bees are solitary, meaning they overwinter and nest in soil, sand or dead wood as opposed to hives. Large screening shrubs make a great shelter for all sorts of pollinators, and some of them, such as wild lilac and toyon are good sources of pollen and nectar too.
Set up a bath for birds, bees and other pollinators
A birdbath is a great way to attract an assortment of beautiful songbirds to your garden. However, you should also find a spot in your pollinator garden for a bee & butterfly bath! Grab a shallow tray, line with pebbles, and keep it filled with fresh water.
Did you know butterflies get many of their essential minerals from drinking muddy water (an act known as puddling)?
Learn to control pests naturally
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a way of controlling pests with less impact on the environment. And, since many pollinators feed on unwanted insects, like aphids, you’re inviting nature’s pest control.