Pollinator gardens

The world’s food supply depends on pollinators. Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other beneficial insects and small mammals pollinate plants that:

  • bring us countless fruits, vegetables, and nuts
  • support half of the world’s oils, fibers and raw materials
  • prevent soil erosion
  • increase carbon sequestration

A pollinator garden supports and protects these important creatures by providing food and shelter.

  • Use a variety of flower shapes to attract different types of pollinators
  • Use a mix of plants which flower at different times of the year so you have blooms all season
  • Choose native plant species
  • Let plant debris stand over winter to provide shelter for insects and food for birds
  • Add bird baths and bee houses to keep insects and birds returning to your garden each year
  • Avoid using pesticides and herbicides,—even natural or homemade versions can harm pollinators
  • Use containers in small spaces

Pollinator gardening

Add 5 centimetres (2 inches) of organic material (e.g. manure, compost, leaf mold) every two years to create a rich, nutritious soil, and remove the need to fertilize.

For the first few weeks, keep the top 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) of soil moist. After that, water once a week until plants are established (one to two seasons).

Adding 5 to 10 centimetres (2 to 4 inches) of mulch every few years to reduce watering needs, prevent weeds and increase plant survival and growth.

Pollinator garden design—full sun

At least six hours of direct sunlight

Pollinator-friendly plants full sun

Spring interest

  • Cercis canadensis, eastern redbud
  • Lupinus perennis, wild lupine
  • Physocarpus species, ninebark
  • Phlox paniculata, garden phlox
  • Scabiosa species, pincushion flower
  • Stachys byzantina, lamb’s ear

Summer interest

  • Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed
  • Heliopsis helianthoides, false sunflower
  • Liatris aspera, prairie blazing star
  • Penstemon digitalis, foxglove beadtongue
  • Rosa species, carpet rose
  • Weigela species, Wiegela

Fall interest

  • Anemone species, fall anemone
  • Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian sage
  • Sedum species, autumn stonecrop

Printer-friendly: Sun Pollinator Garden plan

Pollinator garden design—part sun

Three to six hours of direct sun a day

Pollinator-friendly plants part sun

Spring interest

  • Aconitum delphiniifolium, larkspurleaf monkshood
  • Aquilegia canadensis, Canadian columbine
  • Amelanchier species, serviceberry
  • Baptisia alba, white wild indigo
  • Tiarella species, foam flower

Summer interest

  • Agastache foeniculum, giant hyssop
  • Allium cernuum, nodding onion
  • Gaura species, wand flower
  • Penstemon hirsutus, hairy beardtongue
  • Rudbeckia hirta, blackeyed Susan

Fall interest

  • Echinacea pallida, pale purple coneflowers
  • Eupatorium maculatum, Joe Pye weed
  • Hamamelis virginiana, witch hazel
  • Solidago species, goldenrod
  • Symphyotrichum laeve, smooth aster

Printer-friendly: Part sun – pollinator garden