Native Plants

(Photo courtesy: Butterfly Pavilion)

Everyone shares certain needs to thrive, not least our pollinating friends. Creating a backyard habitat that will encourage pollinators — including insects, butterflies, and ever popular hummingbirds — yields impacts well beyond beautifying your yard.  Pollinator gardens offer true beauty with big benefits, supporting the entire ecosystem as they enhance your outdoor space.

“Current assessments show that 40% of pollinator species in North America are vulnerable to extinction while globally, extinction rates for pollinators are 100 to 1000 times higher than normal,” says Amy Yarger, Senior Director of Horticulture at Westminster’s Butterfly Pavilion. “The remedy is clear; we must do our best to make sure that pollinators and other beneficial wildlife can find homes in our landscapes.”

Start cultivating a place for pollinators with these top tips:

Include a diversity of native plants

Pollinator habitat isn’t necessarily “one size fits all”, Yarger says. Plant diversity is key to supporting diverse populations of pollinators. An effective pollinator habitat will include native plants, adapted to our unique soil and climate conditions, of different seasons, shapes, sizes, and colors to make landscapes as inclusive as possible.

Bee

(Photo courtesy: Butterfly Pavilion)

Get colorful 

Enlivening space with color is one of the most fun aspects of planning for a diverse range of pollinators and beautifying your garden. Go for the whole dazzling spectrum and you’ll attract a pollinator party. Moths prefer pale, fragrant flowers, Yarger says, while butterflies love brightly colored blossoms. Bees tend to gravitate most to blue, purple, and yellow flowers. Hummingbirds find brilliant red, tubular honeysuckle flowers irresistible.

Create shelter 

Trees, shrubs, and vines provide shelter from predators and the elements. They also allow for shaded space that better holds needed moisture beyond nectar.

Avoid pesticides 

Many pesticides will harm pollinators. Instead, try other pest control methods such as physical barriers or attracting insect predators to your landscape.  

By Wendy McMillan, At Home Luxe. Photos courtesy: Butterfly Pavilion