It brings so much joy to watch bees and butterflies hop from flower to flower. Even though they are a fun sight, these little critters are hard at work pollinating plants as they play a vital role for growing fruits and vegetables. Actually, the work of pollinators has done more than create a scrumptious salad for you. It’s also the key to keeping our planet green and lush. That’s why I love them so much, and why I motivate my friends and neighbors to support pollinators too. So what can you do personally to help pollinators and encourage them in your garden? Here are 5 easy tips and tricks to encourage our little bug friends to visit your garden!
1. Grow Flowers!
There are two major kinds of pollinators—bees and butterflies—and a host of other critters that do their part as well. If you’re trying to bring more pollinators to your garden, you should consider ensuring you’re providing a diverse range of blooms. Many people find it valuable to learn about the different species of pollinators in their region and which flowers they prefer. Plants that bloom at different times of year are important for encouraging all of them to stick around through the season.
2. Provide Water
There is nothing more attractive to a pollinator than a nice source of water. If you don’t have a pond, bird bath or fountain already, your first step should be to install one.
3. Use Pesticides With Caution
It’s easy to introduce harmful pesticides into your garden. Many don’t realize that bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects can be harmed by some of the same pesticides they use to control pest insects. Insecticides can have unintended consequences for pollinators, so it’s best to avoid them entirely. Instead, use predator insects, like ladybugs, which eat aphids and mites. However, if you must spray, choose a product that is organic such as neem oil.
4. Let Herbs Bloom
If your garden plot is bursting with vegetables and herbs, consider letting some of those plants go to seed. Each and every flower provides a chance for it to become a pollinator’s favorite snack. I love watching the flowers of my culinary herbs emerge in my garden each spring and summer. I also love watching the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds buzzing around them!
5. Plant Native Species
Include native plants, where climate permits, to your pollinator garden for the best results. Native plants have evolved with our local pollinators and require little to no care once established. Some examples include Purple Coneflower, Lobelia, Gaillardia, Rhododendron, California Poppy, and Swamp Milkweed.
A combination of native plants will always produce a healthy garden environment for your butterflies and bees.