Plants that Attract Pollinators

By: Beth Krietsch Spring

Pollination is crucial to plant health and reproduction, and pollinators like birds, bees, and butterflies are the unsung heroes of this ecological process. Pollinators help support thriving plant life and encourage biological diversity across ecosystems, despite the fact that many humans often don’t realize or recognize the extent of their importance. Plants that attract pollinators help support pollinator populations and can help gardens thrive. Here’s how you can plant a pollinator-friendly garden.

The importance of pollination

Pollination occurs when pollen is carried between one plant and another of the same species. By cross-pollinating, plants ensure the genetic diversity needed to build resilience within an ecosystem. While some plants rely on wind to carry pollen from plant to plant, it’s much more common for plants to seed using wind as a primary transport.

More than 90% of flowering plants rely on pollinators like bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, wasps, flies, and beetles for reproduction. It’s not just flowering plants that thrive when pollinator populations are prevalent—35% of the world’s food crop relies on pollinators.

Pollinator populations across the globe are being threatened. More than 40% of the world’s invertebrate pollinator species are at risk of extinction. But there’s a simple thing that anyone can do to help reverse this trend and protect pollinators—plant a garden full of plants that attract pollinators.

Plants that attract pollinators

Focus on native plants rather than invasive species. Native plants are best suited to thrive in the local environment and are often less challenging to grow and maintain. Local garden shops or garden clubs can also be a resource for identifying and purchasing native plants that support pollinator populations. Even a small patch of carefully selected plants will attract and support pollinator populations.

Depending on where you live, your garden might require different native species to attract pollinators.

Plants that attract pollinators

Lamb’s ear
Black-eyed Susan

Important considerations for your pollinator-friendly garden

When possible, select plants that are rich in nectar. These plants are rich in sugar and provide pollinators with nutrients essential for survival. If you prefer plants that aren’t as rich in nectar, supplement your garden with butterfly or hummingbird feeders to supplement your garden.

As biodiversity—even within a small garden—helps pollinators thrive, select plants that represent a wide variety of native species. When searching, find plants that are different colors and shapes, as well as plants that bloom at different times.  

Pollinators also need shelter—which is often provided by plants. Help support a natural habitat by allowing a section of your lawn to grow wild, or leave a bunch of grass cuttings on the ground so pollinators have a place to seek shelter away from predators and harsh weather.

You may choose to avoid using herbicides and pesticides. These are toxic to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. There are many ways to grow healthy plants without using pesticides. But if you must, apply pesticides when pollinators won’t be present in your garden.

More In Gardening


The Power of Plants: The Healing Properties of Horticultural Therapy

A closer look at horticultural therapy and how it can positively affect physical, cognitive, social, and mental health. We talked to a Registered Horticultural Therapist and a certified therapeutic recreation therapist to gain more insight into this evidence-based practice.

Read More
Curb Appeal

What You Can Do About Messy Neighbors

Advice from the pros about how you can solve the problem of messy neighbors. How you can broach the subject with your neighbors, what authorities you can appeal to for help, and how you can obscure the view.

Read More

Common Mistakes When Planning
a Backyard Wedding

Considering a backyard wedding? We’ll discuss important factors when planning a backyard wedding, common backyard wedding mistakes, and ways you can save on your big day.

Read More

The Story Behind the Beloved Adirondack Chair

Most of us are familiar with the Adirondack chair and its quintessential summer charm. Here’s a brief history of the design that became an iconic image of coastal landscapes across the US.

Read More

How to Grow Bamboo

With the right climate, bamboo can grow in nearly any type of fertile, well-drained soil. Learn how to grow this versatile evergreen and how to care for it throughout the year.

Read More

How to Keep Deer
Out of Your Garden

Deer creating problems in your garden? We’ll help you identify signs that you’re dealing with deer and provide 17 effective methods (including plenty of humane and harmless tactics) that have been proven to keep deer out of gardens all year long.

Read More

17 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes
(and Other Bugs Too)

Investing in plants that repel mosquitoes is an alternative to chemical bug sprays and a natural way to keep your lawn, garden, and home bug-free. Here are 17 plants that repel mosquitoes both indoors and out.

Read More

How to Clean a Grill

Start grilling season off right with a clean outdoor grill. Not only does a clean grill provide for better-tasting food, it prevents bacteria from building and is much safer than cooking on a dirty grill. Here’s your quick guide to a clean grill.

Read More

Green Roof Revolution: Why Cities Are Adopting Green Roofs

With benefits like increased energy efficiency, reduced heating and cooling costs, and improved air quality, to name a few, green roofs are appealing to many eco-minded homeowners, businesses, and cities throughout the country.

Read More

What Did You Think?

Join the Conversation

By continuing to browse or by clicking “OK” you agree to the storing of first- and third-party cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Privacy Policy.